Media Profanity Linked To Teen Aggression
October 18, 2011 by UPI - United Press International, Inc.
PROVO, Utah, Oct. 18 (UPI) — Profanity in television and video games is linked to U.S. teen aggression, researchers at Brigham Young University found.
Professor Sarah Coyne said the statistical modeling points to a chain reaction — exposure to profanity is associated with acceptance and use of profanity, which in turn influence both physical and relational aggression.
Coyne and colleagues at Brigham Young University gathered information from 223 middle school students in the Midwest.
The data is not longitudinal, but the statistical techniques applied give more clues than would simple correlation tests, Coyne said.
“On the whole, it’s a moderate effect,” Coyne said in a statement. “We even ran the statistical model the opposite way to test if the violent kids used more profanity and then sought it out in the media, but the first path we took was a much better statistical fit even when we tried other explanations.”
The study, published in the journal Pediatrics, found the connection between profanity and adolescent aggression remained significant even while accounting for the influence of portrayals of aggression in the shows and games popular with the middle school students involved in the study.
“Profanity is kind of like a stepping stone,” Coyne said. “You don’t go to a movie, hear a bad word, and then go shoot somebody. But when youth both hear and then try profanity out for themselves it can start a downward slide toward more aggressive behavior.”