New Study Links Youth Violence to Depression & Peers, Not Video Games

Dr. Christopher Ferguson (left) of Texas A&M International University dropped GamePolitics a line this morning to say that he has published a new study with some interesting findings about media violence.

Ferguson’s new work (co-authored by Claudia San Miguel and Richard Hartley) appears in the Journal of Pediatrics and maintains that youth violence is linked to depression and peer delinquency, not consumption of violent media. Ferguson summarized his findings in an e-mail to GP:

We examined multiple risk factors for violence in a sample of 603 mostly Hispanic youth… We assessed results across seven separate measures of youth violence and serious youth aggression, including the Child Behavior Checklist aggression and rule-breaking scales as reported by both children and their parents, involvement in violent and non-violent criminal behaviors and bullying behaviors against peers. 

 

We found that depressed mood and association with delinquent peers were the strongest and most consistent risk factors for youth violence across outcome measures.  Parents’ use of verbal cruelty in domestic relationships and the child’s antisocial personality traits were also reasonably strong predictors of violent behavior.  By contrast video game violence exposure and television violence exposure were not found to be predictors of youth violence. 

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