APHA: Violence Exposure Linked to Aggressive Behavior

Less violent media exposure related to fewer self-reported aggressive behaviors

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 29 (HealthDay News) -- Children with minimal exposure to violence in movies, television, music, games and Web sites are significantly less likely to report violent and aggressive behaviors than those exposed to more violent media, according to research presented this week at the American Public Health Association meeting in San Diego.

Michele Ybarra, Ph.D., of Internet Solutions for Kids Inc., in Santa Ana, Calif., and a colleague surveyed 1,588 children from 10 to 15 years of age to determine the relationship between media violence and aggressive behavior as part of the Growing Up With Media survey. Children were asked to identify the amount of violence they had been exposed to in several different media categories and self-report violent behaviors.

Overall, children self -reporting no or almost no or some violent media exposure are 85 percent and 50 percent, respectively, less likely to concurrently report serious violent behavior than those reporting more violent media exposure. Similar results were observed for bullying and fighting behaviors. Substance abuse, witnessed community violence, poor caregiver-child relationships, anger management problems and delinquent peers all increased risk for violent behaviors.

The authors conclude, "Our findings suggest that a reduction of violent media consumption for children and adolescents to 'almost none/none' may decrease bullying and fighting behavior among youth."

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