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Violent Video Games Exposure and Aggression Amongst Adolescents


i. Definition of Terms

VVGE- Violent Video Games Exposure.

PUBG- Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds.

HI & H2- Hypothesis One and Two.

ii. Background of the Study

Violent video games portray deliberate efforts by persons who can be in the form of nonhuman characters, cartoons, or even real people to cause harm to other parties featured in the games. Violent video games have had countless implications on societal worry in the contemporary world and hence captured the attention of many researchers. Many researchers, such as Teng et al., (2019), argue that violent video game exposure is linked to intensified aggression among people of various ages, specifically adolescents. Furthermore, previous research, such as by Greitemeyer & McLatchie (2011), examined the connection between violent video games and aggression, such as aggressive norms, dehumanization, neuroticism, psychoticism, and aggressive traits.

With the advancement in technology in the contemporary world, a considerable number of violent video games, such as Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG), also known as Chicken Dinner. This game has become widespread among adolescents and has overtaken the Honor of the Kings. The China Audio-video & Digital Publishing Association Game Publishing Committee (2018) accentuated that the highest leading games for sale in the market included Action Role Playing Games with 29.9%, while the Multiplayer Online Battle Arena was the second most purchased with 17.4%. These games accounted for almost 50’% of the market sales. In addition, it indicated that 35.9% of games were associated with shooting. Many games, such as PUBG, encompass violent content, which suggests the universality of violent video games.

iii. Statement of the Problem

The gap that this study identified is that there needs to be more research and information concerning the underlying contrivances of the association between violent video games and aggressive behaviors from the social cognitive and personality traits perspective. Therefore, this study will focus on the relationship between violent video games and aggression by addressing personality traits (Hostility and anger) and social cognition (moral detachment). It is irrefutable that violent video games have intensified the rate of aggression and created a society with heightened crime rates. Conducting this comprehensive study is vital in developing appropriate strategies for lowering the association between violent video games and aggression.

  1. Research Hypothesis
  2. Moral disengagement is intermediated in the association between violent video game exposure and aggression.
  3. Anger and Hostility cause an intermediating role in the link between violent video game experience and aggression.

Literature Review

i. The link between Violent Video Games and Aggression among young adults.

The research was conducted by Addo et al., (2021) to scrutinize the association between violent video games and aggression among young adults by focusing on the restraining effects of adverse environmental factors. This research was divided on the impacts of violent video games since some scholars argued that violent video games encourage aggressiveness while others opposed the notion. Some scholars accentuated that violent video games endorse self-injury, promote aggression and lessen empathy. Conversely, some argue that violent video games have minimal to no effects on physical traits. Even though this research was more concerned with the restraining influences of negative ecological factors on the association between violent video games and aggressiveness from a cross-cultural view. Addo et al., (2021) experimented using a sample of 3219 individuals of ages 19 and 35 years old. The participants were from game centres and colleges in both China and Ghana. Analysis was done using a parallel moderated-mediation regression. The authors found that intensified consumption of violent video games is linked to lessened levels of empathy concerns, intensified aggressiveness and aggressive thoughts such as self-harm and suicide. The gap that I identified in this study is, it was more concerned with the restraining effects of negative ecological factors on the association between violent video games and aggressiveness from a cross-cultural view. The research is significant for this paper because it provides foundational information and supports the debate concerning the negative impacts of consuming violent video games among young adults by concentrating on environmental factors. Therefore, it creates awareness and provides a representative standpoint concerning the adverse effects of violent video games.

ii. Age-dependent Effects of Violent Video Games on Aggression.

Burkhardt & Lenhard (2022) conducted research to investigate the age-dependent effects of violent video games on aggression. It is irrefutable that a lot of information exists concerning the association between violent video games and aggression. There is a lack of sufficient meta-analytic studies that aim to expound the age-dependent association between violent video game interaction and individuals’ physically aggressive conduct. The authors conducted a meta-analytic study on the age-dependent association between engaging in violent video games and physical aggressiveness founded on longitudinal studies. A random meta-analysis had 30 effect sizes from twenty-one past studies. It significantly impacted negative video game association with physically aggressive behavior. The regression indicated an ageing trajectory with a peak in early adolescence, 14 years old, and an excellent association between violent video games and physical aggression. This is to mean that violent video games have a significant effect during adolescence, where adolescents who consume violent video games tend to have high levels of aggressiveness. The gap that I identified in this study is that it is a meta-analysis combining different studies, thus ignoring significant differences. However, the findings of this study are vital since they provide a foundation concerning age ratings for certain game publications due to potential adverse behavioral effects. Furthermore, this study is essential for this research because it allows for in-depth knowledge concerning how adolescents are the most affected by consuming violent video games, and it illustrates how violent video game consumption alters the behaviors of adolescents, such as physical violence.

iii. Relationship between Desensitization and Violent Video Games Exposure.

Similarly, Brockmyer (2022) researched the relationship between desensitization and playing violent video games. Desensitization is the decrease in emotional, cognitive and behavioral reactions to stimuli. Stimuli is an unconscious and automatic phenomenon that is frequently experienced daily. Playing and exposure to violent media, specifically violent video games, desensitize individuals to real-life violence. Desensitization makes individuals more susceptible to violence by blocking empathy, a powerful emotion in activating moral reasoning required for prosocial reactions. The authors experimented by reviewing by examining the connection between playing violent video games and desensitization to violence among kids, teens and young adults. Brockmyer (2022) found that continuous contact with violent video games heightens the probability of desensitization to violence which is associated with reducing prosocial behavior and intensified aggression. This study proposes that parents should be provided with counseling about the variances between screen violence and real-life violence. This is vital in creating awareness concerning appropriate non-violent problem-solving strategies that build empathy for their children. The gap that I identified in this study is that it used a limited sample that did not serve as a representative of the overall populace. This article is essential for this study because it provides in-depth information about how playing violent video games promotes insensitivity to violence thus reinforcing aggressiveness and lack of empathy.

iv. Mediating Effects of Psychological Engagement on the Association between Child-Parent Violence and Playing Violent Video Games.

Another research was conducted by Ruiz-Fernandez et al., (2021) to investigate the arbitrating effects of psychological engagement on the link between child-parent violence and violent video games. The primary purpose of this study is to use the structural equation model to examine the intermediating role of psychological engagement in the association between exposure to violent video games and child-parent violence against the father and the father. Ruiz-Fernandez et al., (2021) used a sample of 916 students from third and fourth grades in secondary education, first and second grades in high school and first-cycle students in vocational training. The total sample size amounted to 483 males and 433 females. Six hundred twenty-eight of the participants were players of violent video games. The authors conducted an assessment by integrating questionnaires. The engagement levels were assessed with game-fashioned questionnaires, while children-parent violence was evaluated using child-parent questionnaires. The gap I identified in this research is that it was more concerned with child-parent violence than violence inflicted by violent video game encounters. The authors found that exposure to violent video games is associated with low child-parent violence against all parents. This study is essential for this research because it provides vital information concerning how child-parent violence is reduced through exposure to violent video games.

Research Hypothesis:

  1. Association between violent video game exposure with high levels of aggression among adolescents in society.
  2. The impact of violent video game exposure on personality traits and social cognition.


This quantitative research design will integrate survey methodologies such as questionnaires in collecting data. It will include longitudinal studies, which are the most appropriate in this case since they provide techniques, strategies and assumptions suitable for psychological and social issues through the exploration of numeric patterns (Creswell &John, 2018).

i. Participants

A convenient cluster sampling method will be used to select the sample size for this research. The sample size required for this research is 855 teens and young adults aged 16 to 26 years. The participants will be selected from five colleges or universities in the United States. Five hundred forty-seven surveys will be integrated to acquire useable participant responses. The final sample size of 547 respondents will include 282 females and 265 males.

ii. Measures

· Video Game Questionnaires

Video game questionnaires will be used to measure violent video games. An example of the video game questionnaire used in this research is similar to the one integrated by Gentile et al., (2004). The questionnaire will have several questions such as questions requesting the respondents to identify three of their best video games, any video games that are played on computers, hand-held devices or in video game consoles, questions requesting the respondents to record the frequency of their engagement with video games on a scale of 7 for every game, those asking the participants to rate the extent of violence illustrated in each game on a scale of 7 also. One will indicate little to no violence, while seven will indicate extreme levels of violence.

· Sensation‐seeking scale (SSS‐V)

The sensation-seeking scale entails 40 objects grounded on forced choice (Zuckerman, Eysenck, & Eysenck, 1978). The respondents will be required to pick one option from the two alternatives that will be provided. They should select the alternative that suitably designates them in terms of sensation seeking. Sensation-seeking scale illustrates good reliability and validity. The exact sensation-seeking scale that will be integrated into this study is the disinhibition subscale since it is appropriate for disinhibition scales.

· Moral disengagement scale (MDS)

The Moral disengagement scale will be integrated to assess the extent of moral disengagement. The scale will encompass 32 objects aligned into eight concepts: a favorable comparison, justification of morals, responsibility displacement, euphemistic language, responsibility dispersion, dehumanization, distortion of consequences and blame attribution. All the objects will use a 5-point scale where one will indicate “strongly disagree” while five will signify “strongly agree” to violent video games associated with the concepts.

· Buss-Perry Aggression Questionnaires (BPAQ)

The Buss-Perry Aggression Questionnaire will contain 29 items that will be sectioned under four concepts: Hostility, verbal aggression, physical aggression and anger. This research will integrate the verbal and physical aggression sub-scales to evaluate aggressive behaviors. Higher scores will signify intensified aggression traits.

iii. Data Analysis

Based on the research hypothesis, (H1) the association between violent video game exposure with high levels of aggression among adolescents in society and (H2) the impact of violent video game exposure on personality traits and social cognition. This research paper will analyze the intermediate effects of playing violent video games. Correlation analysis, descriptive statistics, regression analysis and gender differences of the key variables will be conducted using the bootstrapping method by Preacher & Hayes (2004). This is important in attaining solid standard errors suitable for parameter estimation. Furthermore, they will be significant in testing and regulating the intermediating effect.

iv. Ethical Considerations

Ethical considerations will be guaranteed in several ways. First, researchers will request ethical approval from the universities and colleges where the sample size will be selected. In addition, ethical considerations will be maintained by seeking consent from the participants. The participants will be informed about the research and the risks that might be associated with the research. The researchers will allow them to make informed decisions on whether they are interested in participating. The participants responded to the questionnaires through guidance from informed and trained researchers. The researchers will also safeguard information concerning the respondents by guaranteeing confidentiality. Finally, all the participants were free to withdraw from the research when needed.

v. Findings

· Preliminary Analysis

This research will collect data through self-report design (Rosenbaum et al., 2006). This is an indication of the presence of standard method variance. Harman’s single-factor test to test will be integrated to measure common method bias. According to the results, 36 factors had 18 values more significant than one. Together, they amounted to 65. 24% of the total variance, with the most significant single factor signifying 14.23% of the variance, which is lower than the judgment standards of 40%. Violent video game exposure is associated with moral disengagement and disinhibition.

· Discussion and Conclusion.

Consistent with hypothesis one (H 1), Moral disengagement will mediate the relationship between violent video games and aggression. This study found that moral disengagement is intermediated in the association between violent video games and aggression. Therefore, adolescents continuously interacting with violent video games are more susceptible to moral disengagement tools, which boosts aggressive behavior traits. Continuous engagement with violent video games influences people’s moral values and cognition, such as moral disengagement, which is linked to aggressiveness.


Addo, P. C., Fang, J., Kulbo, N. B., Gumah, B., Dagadu, J. C., & Li, L. (2021). Violent video games and aggression among young adults: the moderating effects of adverse environmental factors. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking24(1), 17-23.

Brockmyer, J. F. (2022). Desensitization and violent video games: mechanisms and evidence. Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics31(1), 121-132.

Burkhardt, J., & Lenhard, W. (2022). A meta-analysis on violent video games longitudinal, age-dependent effects on aggression. Media Psychology25(3), 499-512.

China Audio‐video and Digital Publishing Association Game Publishing Committee. (2018). China Gaming Industry Report. In Chinese.

Creswell, J. D., & John, W. (2018). Creswell, research design. Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches. Fifth. London.

Gentile, D. A., Lynch, P. J., Linder, J. R., & Walsh, D. A. (2004). The effects of violent video game habits on adolescent Hostility, aggressive behaviors, and school performance. Journal of Adolescence, 27(1), 5–22.

Greitemeyer, T., & McLatchie, N. (2011). Denying humanness to others: A newly discovered mechanism by which violent video games increase aggressive behavior. Psychological Science, 22, 659–665.

Preacher, K. J., & Hayes, A. F. (2004). SPSS and SAS procedures for estimating indirect effects in simple mediation models. Behavior Research Methods, Instruments, & Computers: A Journal of the Psychonomic Society.

Rosenbaum, A., Rabenhorst, M. M., Reddy, M. K., Fleming, M. T., & Howells, N. L. (2006). A comparison of methods for collecting self-report data on sensitive topics. Violence and Victims21(4), 461-471.

Ruiz-Fernández, A., Junco-Guerrero, M., & Cantón-Cortés, D. (2021). Exploring the mediating effect of psychological engagement on the relationship between child-to-parent violence and violent video games. International journal of environmental research and public health18(6), 2845.

Teng, Z., Nie, Q., Guo, C., Zhang, Q., Liu, Y., & Bushman, B. J. (2019). A longitudinal study of the link between exposure to violent video games and aggression in Chinese adolescents: The mediating role of moral disengagement. Developmental Psychology,55(1), 184–195.


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