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Can fantasy influence reality? An investigation into adolescent video game usage, with a particular focus on violent video games and gender and whether there is an association with aggressive and delinquent behaviour

Palmer, Lucy (2012) Can fantasy influence reality? An investigation into adolescent video game usage, with a particular focus on violent video games and gender and whether there is an association with aggressive and delinquent behaviour. University of Chester.

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Abstract

Previous research predicts and establishes that exposure to violent media can have a detrimental effect on an adolescent’s development; particularly in terms of behavioural processes and conduct. This study aimed to examine whether there is an effect of violent content and gender on video gaming usage, internet gaming usage and aggressive and delinquent behaviour. One hundred and thirty two, fifteen to eighteen year old secondary and sixth-form/college students completed a questionnaire consisting of three sections. Firstly participants were asked about their video gaming and internet gaming usage and preferences. The second part was a survey asking about their delinquent behaviour in the last year and finally an aggression questionnaire to assess their aggressive characteristics. Through statistical testing (2x2 full between subjects ANOVA design) one significant result was identified; participants in the high violent content median had a higher rate of video game usage than participants in the low violent content median. The interaction between video gaming usage, violent content and gender was found to be close to significance, so independent sample t-tests were run and it was revealed that males have a higher video gaming usage when violent content is high. Correlation analysis identified a positive significant association between the aggression and delinquency means and a regression analysis revealed that knowing an individual’s aggressive score predicts their delinquent behaviour better than gender and/or gaming usage. Limitations and directions for future research were also discussed.

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