Several studies have repeatedly shown that violent/action video games increase aggressive tendencies. The present study provides preliminary evidence that exposure to these games also affects the process of moral disengagement. High school students (N = 385) were recruited, and the impact of both recency and frequency of their exposure to the video game Grand Theft Auto IV (GTA; 2008) on moral disengagement was explored. Results showed that exposure to GTA predicted higher levels of moral disengagement. Recency of exposure had a primary impact on the considered mechanisms of moral disengagement. These findings provide insights into a relevant detrimental effect of exposure to video games, to our knowledge not explored yet. Future research is needed to provide evidence of the causal link in the observed relationships.
Copyright © 2012 The Foundation for Professionals in Services for Adolescents. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.