Ferguson, C. J., & Rueda, S. M. (2010). The Hitman study: Violent video game exposure effects on aggressive behavior, hostile feelings, and depression. European Psychologist, 15(2), 99-108. doi:10.1027/1016-9040/a000010

This article explores commonly discussed theories of violent video game effects: the social learning, mood management, and catharsis hypotheses. An experimental study was carried out to examine violent video game effects. In this study, 103 young adults were given a frustration task and then randomized to play no game, a nonviolent game, a violent game with good versus evil theme (i.e., playing as a good character taking on evil), or a violent game in which they played as a “bad guy.” Results indicated that randomized video game play had no effect on aggressive behavior; real-life violent video game-playing history, however, was predictive of decreased hostile feelings and decreased depression following the frustration task. Results do not support a link between violent video games and aggressive behavior, but do suggest that violent games reduce depression and hostile feelings in players through mood management. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)