e-book Growing Up to Be Violent. A Longitudinal Study of the Development of Aggression

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Consistent with earlier results, the main effects revealed that poor parent—child communication was associated with higher levels of direct aggression.

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To illustrate the nature of the interactions, we followed the procedure outlined by Aiken and West , which allows the comparison of the slope of the regression line at 1 SD above and below the mean score of the moderating variable. Among girls, digital game violence longitudinally predicted increased direct aggression, as hypothesized, when current parent—child communication was poor. For boys, digital game violence predicted increased direct aggression both longitudinally and synchronously when their current reported parent—child communication was good, contrary to our hypothesis.

The interaction of digital game violence and parent—child communication in the prediction of direct aggression by participant sex: Longitudinal A and synchronous B analysis.

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The interaction of digital game violence and parent—child communication in the prediction of direct aggression by age in girls. Longitudinal analysis. Discussion We investigated whether digital game playing is related to increased direct aggression in adolescents and whether sex, age and current parent—child communication moderate this relationship.

The results suggest both longitudinal and synchronous relations between digital game violence and direct aggression. As hypothesized, moderating and joint effects of sex, age and parent—child communication were found. The strength of this relationship was within the range found in other studies.

Interestingly, the effect of violent game playing two years earlier seems to be of approximately the same size as the effect of current playing. We hypothesized that for these reasons game violence may be associated with aggression more strongly in boys than in girls. A sex difference was found in the younger age group: in the longitudinal prediction digital game violence two years earlier was associated with current direct aggression in boys but not in girls.

Presumably the sex difference is based on girls' lower level of game violence at age ten compared to boys of the same age who already played violent digital games more intensively. Second, we hypothesized that the association of digital game violence with direct aggression is strongest in early adolescence. The Time 2 age difference between and year-old girls in the longitudinal prediction of direct aggression partly supports our age hypothesis.

Earlier digital game violence was associated two years later with direct aggression in older but not younger girls. Again, the level of digital game violence in the Time 1 ten-year-old girls may have been too low to predict subsequent aggression at the age At Time 1, the older year-old girls already expressed a higher level of digital game violence and direct aggression. Principally, however, age-related increase in aggression and digital game violence do not seem to interact. Likewise, previous studies usually show no age differences in relations between digital game violence and direct aggression Anderson et al.

Third, results substantiated our hypothesis that parent—child communication moderates the link between digital game violence and direct aggression. Among girls reporting poor parent—child communication, Time 1 digital game violence in the older age group, and current game violence in both age groups predicted increased Time 2 direct aggression. Also Time 1 results showed that for year-old boys reporting poor parent—child communication, digital game violence was associated with direct aggression Wallenius et al.

These results suggest that digital game violence and poor parent—child communication may interact and additively contribute to the development of the risk of aggressive behavior as proposed in the cumulative risk model Masten, The cumulative risk model assertion that every additional protective factor reduces the risk of problematic behavior was also supported.


Perhaps good parent—child communication includes higher parental involvement, including setting limits on the amount and content of games played, which has been found to reduce effects of digital game violence on aggression Anderson et al. We were surprised that digital game violence also predicted increased direct aggression when parent—child communication was good, for all participants synchronously and for boys also longitudinally. The moderating role of good parent—child communication emerges after initial stages of violent digital game playing, thus later among girls than boys.

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Good parent—child communication may also have protective effects Masten, such that effects of digital game violence on adolescents emerge more slowly. The growing autonomy of adolescents also decreases the importance of parental monitoring although parent—child communication may otherwise be good.

Although the level of direct aggression among adolescent boys reporting poor parent—child communication was high, digital game violence experience did not exacerbate it. Perhaps in the absence of parental involvement these boys started violent digital game playing earlier than others.

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Results suggest that the arousing effect of game violence may decrease over time and lead to emotional desensitization e. Thus game violence may lose its impact on direct aggression among adolescents reporting poor parent—child communication. More study may reveal if a delayed ceiling effect emerges later among girls. Overall, the results suggest that the moderating role of parent—child communication in the link between digital game violence and direct aggression changes with age and the change follows the same pattern in both boys and girls.

The change occurs later in girls than in boys, possibly because playing violent digital games begins later among girls. The moderating role of parent—child communication quality in the present time seems to be more important than earlier communication. During earlier years, game violence and poor parent—child communication may jointly reinforce aggression-related cognitions and affects, perhaps additively contributing to the development of negative world view and aggressive knowledge structures Burks et al. Good parent—child communication may reduce the risk of aggressive behavior.

In the long term, good parent— child communication may lose its ability to counterbalance violent scripts and cognitive structures that develop in tandem with exposure to violent digital game contents. Our research lacks conceptualization and measures of adolescents' scripts and interpretations of digital game violence and their playing activity.

Psychology Lecture: Child Development in the Digital Age

Knowledge about their attributional models and representations of aggression, parental relations and digital virtual realities would be informative. As also emphasized by Sigel situational, cultural and developmental aspects are essential in understanding children's thinking, behaving and sensemaking. A number of limitations of this study include reliance on self-reports, subject to issues of shared variance, accuracy, etc. Devising objective measures for the time spent on violent digital games is not easy. Diary methods yield more exact estimates Anderson et al.

Recently an exposure measure in which the amount of game violence in each game is multiplied by the amount of time spent playing it and then summing the products has shown promise Anderson et al. A third follow-up study would better reveal the changes during the age-transitions from middle childhood to early adolescence and further to adolescence.

Nevertheless, a synchronous model goes well beyond a simple cross-sectional analysis as the Time 1 value of the dependent variable, aggression, is controlled. For example, adolescents who are more aggressive are likely to seek to play more violent games, or less monitoring of adolescent's digital game playing habits, not quality of parental communication per se, may lead to greater amount of violent digital game playing and also lead to increased direct aggression.

In conclusion, our results suggest that the effects of digital game violence follow complex pathways and depend on both person factors, such as developmental stage of cognitive functions and the brain, and situational factors, such as parent—child communication. Poor parent—child communication may be one of the factors in an adolescent's life that may strengthen the negative effects of game violence. But good parent—child communication does not necessarily protect the adolescent. References Aiken, L. Multiple regression: Testing and interpreting interactions. Newbury Park: Sage. Anderson, C.

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