Cross National Television and Aggression Study


L. Rowell Huesmann
National Institute of Mental Health

The Cross National Television and Aggression Study examines the longitudinal relations between television violence viewing at ages 6 to 10 and adult aggressive, antisocial, and criminal behavior about 15 years later for samples of children growing up in the 70s and 80s in the USA (748) [denoted the Oak Park Longitudinal Study], Finland (220), Poland (237), and Israel (186). Two cohorts of children (1st grade and 3rd grade) were initially interviewed 3 times and 1 year intervals and then again 15 years later when they were in their early 20s. Multivariate data analyses reveal that childhood exposure to media violence predicts young adult aggressive behavior for both males and females especially when the child identified with aggressive characters. These relations persist even when the effects of socio economic status, intellectual ability, and a variety of parenting factors are controlled. The four samples of children are representative or urban populations in four different countries (Finland, Poland, Israel and the United States) allowing for greater generalization of results across cultures and social systems. Additionally, many different psycho-social outcome variables, contextual variables, and social cognitions were measured allowing for the examination of a variety of hypothesis unrelated to media violence. Data analyses are expected to continue for many years.