The public health risks of media violence: a meta-analytic review

J Pediatr. 2009 May;154(5):759-63. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2008.11.033. Epub 2009 Feb 23.


Objective: To conduct a meta-analytic review of studies that examine the impact of violent media on aggressive behavior and to determine whether this effect could be explained through methodological problems inherent in this research field.

Study design: A detailed literature search identified peer-reviewed articles addressing media violence effects. Effect sizes were calculated for all studies. Effect sizes were adjusted for observed publication bias.

Results: Publication bias was a problem for studies of aggressive behavior, and methodological problems such as the use of poor aggression measures inflated effect size. Once corrected for publication bias, studies of media violence effects provided little support for the hypothesis that media violence is associated with higher aggression. The corrected overall effect size for all studies was r = .08.

Conclusions: Results from the current analysis do not support the conclusion that media violence leads to aggressive behavior. It cannot be concluded at this time that media violence presents a significant public health risk.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aggression*
  • Humans
  • Mass Media*
  • Public Health
  • Video Games*
  • Violence*