Two sides to the same coin: relational and physical aggression in the media

Sarah M. Coyne (School of Family Life, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, USA)
Laura Stockdale (School of Family Life, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, USA)
David A. Nelson (School of Family Life, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, USA)

Journal of Aggression, Conflict and Peace Research

ISSN: 1759-6599

Publication date: 28 September 2012

Abstract

Purpose

This review aims to examine how aggression is portrayed in the media and how it can influence behavior and attitudes regarding aggression.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors reviewed the relevant literature and examined both physical and relational forms of aggression in multiple media forms (television, film, video games, music, books).

Findings

Across media types, evidence is found that both physical and relational aggression are portrayed frequently and in ways that may contribute to subsequent aggression. Furthermore, though there are studies finding no effect of exposure to media aggression, evidence is found that watching physical and relational aggression in the media can contribute to aggressive behavior. Prominent media aggression theories are reviewed and some of these theories are applied to relational aggression media effects.

Research limitations/implications

Researchers should no longer ignore relational aggression in terms of the media, in terms of content and associations with aggressive behavior. Researchers should also focus on understudied media forms, such as music and books.

Practical implications

Policy makers should take careful note of the research on media and aggression when deciding on public policy and clinicians should inquire about media habits when clients show problematic aggressive behavior (physical or relational).

Originality/value

This paper is a valuable source of information regarding current research on media and aggression. Unlike other reviews, it focuses on multiple types of aggression (physical and relational) and multiple media types (TV, movies, video games, music, and books).

Keywords

Citation

Coyne, S.M., Stockdale, L. and Nelson, D.A. (2012), "Two sides to the same coin: relational and physical aggression in the media", Journal of Aggression, Conflict and Peace Research, Vol. 4 No. 4, pp. 186-201. https://doi.org/10.1108/17596591211270680

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Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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