[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Exposure to media violence, including violent video gaming, can have a cognitive desensitization effect, lowering empathic concern for others in need. Since emerging adulthood offers increased opportunities to volunteer, strengthen relationships, and initiate new relationships, decreases in empathic concern and prosocial behavior may prove inhibitive to optimal development during this time. For these reasons, the current study investigated associations between violent video gaming, empathic responding, and prosocial behavior enacted toward strangers, friends, and family members. Participants consisted of 780 emerging adults (M age = 19.60, SD = 1.86, range = 18–29, 69% female, 69% Caucasian) from four universities in the United States. Results showed small to moderate effects between playing violent video gaming and lowered empathic concern for both males and females. In addition, lowered empathic concern partially mediated the pathways between violent video gaming and prosocial behavior toward all three targets (at the level of a trend for females), but was most strongly associated with lower prosocial behavior toward strangers. Discussion highlights how violent video gaming is associated with lower levels of prosocial behavior through the mechanism of decreased empathic concern, how this association can affect prosocial behavior differently across target, and finally what implications this might have for development during emerging adulthood.
Journal of Youth and Adolescence 02/2012; 41(5):636-49. · 2.72 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Although the use of profanity has been examined in a number of types of media, to our knowledge profanity has not been examined in adolescent literature. Thus, the frequency and portrayal of profanity was coded in 40 bestselling adolescent novels. Results revealed that some novels did not contain a single instance of profanity, whereas others contained hundreds of often very strong profanity. When profanity was used, characters were likely to be young, rich, attractive, and of pronounced social status. Novels directed at older adolescents contained much more profanity. However, age guidance or content warnings are not found on the books themselves. Discussion is provided regarding the implications of the findings and the appropriateness of including content warnings in adolescent literature.
Mass Communication and Society - MASS COMMUN SOC. 01/2012; 15(3):360-383.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We hypothesized that exposure to profanity in media would be directly related to beliefs and behavior regarding profanity and indirectly to aggressive behavior.
We examined these associations among 223 adolescents attending a large Midwestern middle school. Participants completed a number of questionnaires examining their exposure to media, attitudes and behavior regarding profanity, and aggressive behavior.
Results revealed a positive association between exposure to profanity in multiple forms of media and beliefs about profanity, profanity use, and engagement in physical and relational aggression. Specifically, attitudes toward profanity use mediated the relationship between exposure to profanity in media and subsequent behavior involving profanity use and aggression.
The main hypothesis was confirmed, and implications for the rating industry and research field are discussed.