Matt DeLisi, a professor of sociology, said the research shows a strong connection even when controlling for a history of violence and psychopathic traits among juvenile offenders.
"When critics say, 'Well, it's probably not video games, it's probably how antisocial they are,' we can address that directly because we controlled for a lot of things that we know matter," DeLisi said. –"Even if you account for the child's sex, age, race, the age they were first referred to juvenile court -- which is a very powerful effect -- and a bunch of other media effects, like screen time and exposure. Even with all of that, the video game measure still mattered." –Assonance
The results were not unexpected, but somewhat surprising for Douglas Gentile, an associate professor of psychology, who has studied the effects of video game violence exposure and minor aggression, like hitting, teasing and name-calling.
"I didn't expect to see much of an effect when we got to serious delinquent and criminal level aggression because youth who commit that level of aggression have a lot of things going wrong for them. They often have a lot of risk factors and very few protective factors in their lives," Gentile said.-Colloquial Language
The study published in the April issue of Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice examined the level of video game exposure for 227 juvenile offenders in Pennsylvania. The average offender had committed nearly nine serious acts of violence, such as gang fighting, hitting a parent or attacking another person in the prior year.
The results show that both the frequency of play and affinity for violent games were strongly associated with delinquent and violent behavior. Craig Anderson, Distinguished Professor of psychology and director of the Center for the Study of Violence at Iowa State, said violent video game exposure is not the sole cause of violence, but this study shows it is a risk factor.
"Can we say from this study that Adam Lanza, or any of the others, went off and killed people because of media violence? You can't take the stand of the NRA that it's strictly video games and not guns," Anderson said. "You also can't take the stand of the entertainment industry that it has nothing to do with media violence that it's all about guns and not about media violence. They're both wrong and they're both right, both are causal risk factors."
Researchers point out that juvenile offenders have several risk factors that influence their behavior. The next step is to build on this research to determine what combination of factors is the most volatile and if there is a saturation