Brady, S. (2006). Impact of violence exposure on hostility, physiological arousal, and health in youth. Dissertation Abstracts International: Section B: The Sciences and Engineering, Vol 66(9-B), 2006. pp. 5079. Retrieved July 11, 2009, from PsycINFO database.
This study examined the joint effects of lifetime exposure to violence within the home and community and acute exposure to media violence on hostility, physiological arousal, and attitudes toward health risk behaviors. One hundred male undergraduates aged 18-21 who had previously reported low or high lifetime amounts of violence were randomly assigned to play a videogame low (The Simpsons: Hit and Run) or high (Grand Theft Auto III; GTA III) in violent content. Participants randomly assigned to GTA III exhibited greater changes in systolic (SBP) and diastolic blood pressure from the initial rest period to game play, and greater negative affect subsequent to game play, in comparison to adolescents randomly assigned to The Simpsons. Participants randomly assigned to GTA III also exhibited more permissive attitudes toward drinking alcohol and using marijuana and were more competitive during a subsequent task. Greater lifetime violence exposure was associated with greater changes in SBP and pulse rate from the initial rest period to game play and with more permissive attitudes towards violence and drinking alcohol. Two interactions between lifetime violence exposure and laboratory media violence condition were found. Within the low lifetime violence exposure group, videogame condition was not associated with change in SBP from the initial rest period to game play, while within the high lifetime violence exposure group, play of Grand Theft Auto III predicted greater changes in SBP. Lifetime community violence exposure interacted with laboratory media violence condition in predicting hostile attributions. Within the high community violence exposure group, play of GTA III was associated with greater likelihood that participants would think a teacher would accuse them of cheating. The present study is the first experimental study to show that media violence is associated with permissive attitudes towards health risk behaviors that do not directly involve hostility or aggression, such as alcohol and marijuana use. Media violence effects observed in the laboratory may be representative of how any type of violence exposure influences youth, including real-world violence within homes and communities. One consequence of acute or chronic violence exposure among young men may be a greater willingness to engage in generally risky behavior. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2008 APA, all rights reserved)