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Media violence a risk factor for bullying

July 17, 2012 at 2:01 AM   |   Comments

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AMES, Iowa, July 17 (UPI) -- Knowing students' risks for aggression can help schools determine which students may be more likely to get in fights or bully others, U.S. researchers say.

The study, published in the Psychology of Popular Media Culture, identified media violence exposure as one of six risk factors for predicting later aggression in 430 children ages 7-11, grades 3-5, from five Minnesota schools.

Study leader Douglas Gentile, an Iowa State University associate professor of psychology, said in addition to media violence exposure, the other risk factors were -- bias toward hostility, low parental involvement, gender, physical victimization and prior physical fights.

"As you gain risk factors, the risk of aggression goes up disproportionally," Gentile said in a statement. "Having one or two risk factors is no big deal. You get to three and there's a big jump. When you get out past four, risk is increasing at a much higher rate than you would expect."

Kids could be profiled by measuring risk factors, said Gentile and co-author Brad Bushman, a former Iowa State psychology professor now at Ohio State University.

"In fact, I can get over 80 percent accuracy knowing only three things -- are they a boy, have they gotten in a fight within the past year, and do they consume a lot of media violence? When you get out to having six risk factors, then we can predict with 94 percent accuracy which kids will get into fights in the coming year," Gentile said. "We just can't predict which day."

© 2012 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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