Pow! Boom! Kablam! Effects of Viewing Superhero Programs on Aggressive, Prosocial, and Defending Behaviors in Preschool Children
Journal of abnormal child psychology | 11 Jan 2017
SM Coyne, L Stockdale, JR Linder, DA Nelson, KM Collier and LW Essig
Many schools and parents try to motivate children to become defenders of victimized peers. Defending behavior is common in the media (particularly in superhero programs); however, no study has examined the effect of media on defending behavior. The aim of the study was to examine longitudinal associations between superhero engagement and a variety of aggressive, prosocial, and defending behaviors in preschool children. Participants consisted of 240 preschoolers (49% male) and their parents who reported on child media use and outcomes at 2 different time points. Preschooler’s engagement with superheroes was related to increased physical and relational aggression 1 year later. Engagement with superheroes was not related to prosocial or defending behaviors. Implications of the results are discussed.
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