Dr. Christopher Ferguson of Texas A&M International University recruited 302 mainly Hispanic youths ages 10-14 from a small Hispanic-majority city population on the border of Mexico, as part of a larger study of youth violence.
The study subjects were interviewed at the start of the study and again 12 months later. The researchers examined exposure to violence both in video games and on television as well as neighborhood problems, negative relationships with adults, anti-social personality, family attachment, delinquent peers, exposure to domestic violence, depressive symptoms, serious aggression, bullying and delinquent behavior.
The study, published in the Journal of Youth and Adolescence, found 75 percent of the youths played video games within the past month on computers, consoles or other devices and 40 percent played games with violent content. Boys were more likely than girls to play violent games.
After one year, 7 percent reported at least one criminally violent act in the past year, while 19 percent reported at least one non-violent crime during the same period.
Neither exposure to violence from video games or television at the start of the study predicted aggressive behavior 12 months later, but depressive symptoms stand out as particularly strong predictors of youth violence and aggression, Ferguson concluded.