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Longitudinal Effects of Violent Media Usage on Aggressive Behavior—The Significance of Empathy

Criminological Research Institute of Lower Saxony (Kriminologisches Forschungsinstitut Niedersachsen e.V.), Lützerodestraße 9, Hannover 30161, Germany
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Societies 2014, 4(1), 105-124; https://doi.org/10.3390/soc4010105
Received: 12 September 2013 / Revised: 12 February 2014 / Accepted: 13 February 2014 / Published: 26 February 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Understanding Media Violence Effects)
The aim of this study was to thoroughly investigate the link between violent media consumption and aggressive behavior. Using a large longitudinal student sample, the role of empathy as a possible mediator of this relationship was of special interest. Data were drawn from wave three to five of the Berlin Longitudinal Study Media, a four-year longitudinal control group study with 1207 school children. Participants completed measures of media usage (violent content of TV and computer games), aggressive behavior perpetration, and empathy. The average age of participants was 10.4 years at Time 1 and 12.4 years at Time 3. Half of the study sample was male (50%). Trivariate structural equation modeling using three measurement times were conducted for assessing the role of empathy as a mediator of the longitudinal relationship between the usage of violent media content and aggressive behavior. For male students empathic skills were shown to unfold a key mediating role between problematic media usage and aggressive behavior. View Full-Text
Keywords: media violence; aggressive behavior; empathy; longitudinal study; mediation analysis media violence; aggressive behavior; empathy; longitudinal study; mediation analysis
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Mößle, T.; Kliem, S.; Rehbein, F. Longitudinal Effects of Violent Media Usage on Aggressive Behavior—The Significance of Empathy. Societies 2014, 4, 105-124.

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