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12-09-2016 | Empirical Research | Uitgave 2/2017

Journal of Youth and Adolescence 2/2017

The Impact of Degree of Exposure to Violent Video Games, Family Background, and Other Factors on Youth Violence

Tijdschrift:
Journal of Youth and Adolescence > Uitgave 2/2017
Auteurs:
Whitney DeCamp, Christopher J. Ferguson

Abstract

Despite decades of study, no scholarly consensus has emerged regarding whether violent video games contribute to youth violence. Some skeptics contend that small correlations between violent game play and violence-related outcomes may be due to other factors, which include a wide range of possible effects from gender, mental health, and social influences. The current study examines this issue with a large and diverse (49 % white, 21 % black, 18 % Hispanic, and 12 % other or mixed race/ethnicity; 51 % female) sample of youth in eighth (n = 5133) and eleventh grade (n = 3886). Models examining video game play and violence-related outcomes without any controls tended to return small, but statistically significant relationships between violent games and violence-related outcomes. However, once other predictors were included in the models and once propensity scores were used to control for an underlying propensity for choosing or being allowed to play violent video games, these relationships vanished, became inverse, or were reduced to trivial effect sizes. These results offer further support to the conclusion that video game violence is not a meaningful predictor of youth violence and, instead, support the conclusion that family and social variables are more influential factors.

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