Media violence exposure and executive functioning in aggressive and control adolescents

J Clin Psychol. 2005 Jun;61(6):725-37. doi: 10.1002/jclp.20022.


The relationship between media violence exposure and executive functioning was investigated in samples of adolescents with no psychiatric diagnosis or with a history of aggressive-disruptive behavior. Age-, gender-, and IQ-matched samples of adolescents who had no Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-fourth edition (DSM-IV; American Psychiatric Association, 1994) diagnosis (N = 27) and of adolescents who had DSM-IV Disruptive Behavior Disorder diagnoses (N = 27) completed measures of media violence exposure and tests of executive functioning. Moderate to strong relationships were found between higher amounts of media violence exposure and deficits in self-report, parent-report, and laboratory-based measures of executive functioning. A significant diagnosis by media violence exposure interaction effect was found for Conners' Continuous Performance Test scores, such that the media violence exposure-executive functioning relationship was stronger for adolescents who had Disruptive Behavior Disorder diagnoses. Results indicate that media violence exposure is related to poorer executive functioning, and this relationship may be stronger for adolescents who have a history of aggressive-disruptive behavior.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Aggression / psychology*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cognition*
  • Female
  • Frontal Lobe
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mass Media*
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • United States
  • Violence / psychology*