The effects of video violence on young male offenders

Pennell, Amanda Elizabeth (1999). The effects of video violence on young male offenders. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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The aim of this study was to investigate the assertion that young male offenders prefer watching violent videos because of their aggressive tendencies. Groups of 54 violent offenders, 28 nonviolent offenders and 40 school/college students, aged between 15 and 21 years were compared. Each participant was interviewed about their viewing habits and preferences. Behavioural reactions to watching a new violent video film were monitored as well as impressions and memories of the film immediately after, at 3-4 months and 9-10 months later. Participants were also psychometrically assessed for anger, empathy and moral maturity.

Offenders were more likely to prefer violent films and were directly observed to show greater approval and interest in violent scenes than non-offenders. Ten months after viewing a violent video, twice as many offenders as non-offenders recalled and identified with 'bad' characters. Offenders had lower levels of moral maturity and empathy for others than non-offenders. They were also more likely to have aggressive temperaments and distorted perceptions about violence. The childhood background of violent offenders indicated that they had both witnessed and suffered physical abuse by their parents more often than the other two groups. The findings suggest that individuals from violent families are more prone to offending behaviour and a preference for violent film. This in tum may increase the frequency of their antisocial acts.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
Licence: All rights reserved
College/Faculty: Schools (1998 to 2008) > School of Psychology
School or Department: School of Psychology
Funders: Other
Other Funders: Home Office Research and Statistics Directorate
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology


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