We propose to test the extent to which extensive early-childhood exposure to media violence promotes attitudes accepting of aggression, aggressive behavior, antisocial behavior, and criminality in young adults. In accord with recent cognitive elaborations of social learning theory, our hypothesis is that subjects whose behaviors and cognitions in early childhood are most affected by exposure to media violence weill evidence the greatest influence in early adulthood. Specifically, we plan to carry out four parallel follow-up studies of subjects in their early 20's who were originally tested and interviewed by these investigators 14 to 15 years earlier whent the children were in the 1st or 3rd grade. The four samples of children are representative of urban populations in four different coutries (Finland, Poland, Israel and the United States) allowing for greater generalization of results across social systems. One studywill be a follow-up of 748 Chicago area children who were originally studied in 1976-77 (Huesmann, Lagerspetz and Eron, 1984). A sub-group of high TV-violence viewers in this sample had received a treatment which successfully reduced their aggressiveness during the original study (Huesmann, Eron, Klein, Bruce and Fischer, 1983). Particular effort will be directed at locating and testing this subgroup. The second study will be a follow-up of 221 Finnish children originally tested in 1978; the third study will be a follow-up of 237 Polish children originally studied in 1979; and the fourth study will be a follow-up of 186 Israeli children (half city raised, half Kibbutz raised) who were originally interviewed in 1981. The results of these initial investigations have been reported in a number of articles and a book (Huesmann and Eron, 1986). On the basis of the longitudinal data that these follow-up studies will provide, 1) We expect to be able to identify more clearly the extent to which habitual early childhood exposure to media violence has lasting effects on cognitions and behaviors, 2) to determine what familial or child characteristics might exacerbate or mitigate such longitudinal effects, and 3) to determine the extent to which these effects generalize across the four cultures represented by the four countries studied. In addition, in the United States we expect to be able to evaluate the extent to which the intervention delivered to the high violence viewers in 1978 and 1979 had any lasting effects.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
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Criminal and Violent Behavior Research Review Committee (CVR)
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University of Michigan Ann Arbor
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Ann Arbor
United States
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Huesmann, L Rowell; Moise-Titus, Jessica; Podolski, Cheryl-Lynn et al. (2003) Longitudinal relations between children's exposure to TV violence and their aggressive and violent behavior in young adulthood: 1977-1992. Dev Psychol 39:201-21
Huesmann, L R; Guerra, N G (1997) Children's normative beliefs about aggression and aggressive behavior. J Pers Soc Psychol 72:408-19