Lubow, G. J. (1998). Object relatedness as a mitigating factor in children’s choices of aggressive responses following the viewing of violent television content, (Doctoral dissertation, New York University, 1998). Dissertation Abstracts International, 59 (5-B), 2448.
Abstract: The researcher investigated a theoretically postulated relationship between object relatedness and choice of aggressive responses subsequent to exposure to television violence. Object relatedness (OR) is a theoretical construct tied to the development of concern for others, stemming from the internalization of models of relationships. In optimal circumstances, such models are formed by nurturance and the tolerance of the infant’s aggressive impulses. At the other end of the spectrum, models are formed by inconsistency or lack of nurturance and the child’s experience of a chaotic, threatening environment. It was hypothesized that exposure to television violence would increase the likelihood of the choice of aggressive solutions to emotionally evocative situations. In particular, it was felt that the increase in aggressive choices by low OR children, following exposure to violent content, would be statistically significant compared to the number of aggressive choices of high OR counterparts, following exposure to television violence. Research participants were fifth and sixth grade students in two urban elementary schools, the populations of which represent a variety of racial, ethnic, and economic backgrounds. Children were initially administered a Rorschach inkblot test, which was scored according to Urist’s Mutuality of Autonomy Scale, and the Liefer and Roberts’s Response Hierarchy Instrument (RHI), a pencil and paper measure of choice of aggression, the latter to establish a baseline of aggressive responsiveness. On the basis of the Rorschach scores, children were classified as either high or low OR, with an attempt made to secure an equal distribution of groups of 15 high OR boys, 15 low OR boys, 15 high OR girls, and 15 low OR girls; final distributions were 15, 15, 26, and 12, respectively. Groups of four children, as frequently as possible on from each of the four groups, were exposed to a “neutral” program, one judged to contain no incidents of violence, and, about a week later, a “violent” program, one selected by raters to have a high number of incidents of violence, according to Gerbner’s definition of violence and statistics for violence on television. After each program, children were asked to fill out the RHI again. Statistical analyses, using a repeated measures analysis of variance, indicated significant main effects for object relatedness and gender. A significant main effect for aggression showed that the number of times participants opted for aggression on the RHI increased significantly following each viewing condition. Several factors in the design of the study or its implementation which interfered with obtaining results proving the main hypothesis are discussed. This researcher, with the data collected in this study, supports the large, well-documented body of literature of other researchers who showed that the viewing of violent television programming increases the potential for aggression. A major finding of this investigator, though not hypothesized, is that low OR is a significant predictor of initial aggressive tendencies, and one which consistently differentiated aggressive responsiveness across all experimental conditions. This is not unexpected, given the theoretical concepts relating the development of object relatedness to the attainment of empathy and concern for others. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2004 APA, all rights reserved)