Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2003, $1,490,230)
The Massachusetts General Hospital Department of Psychiatry and the Harvard Medical School Center for Mental Health and Media propose to conduct multidisciplinary research on the relationship between violent content in video and computer games, and violent behavior (and its precursors and contributors) among American middle-school-aged youth.
Activities include research to document the nature, scope and evolution of violent game use; large surveys of youth and parents to look for correlations among type and amount of game play and child characteristics; qualitative studies (observation and interviews) to verify and expand survey findings, and examine the different effects of group vs. individual game play; and finally, experimental research involving subgroups identified as most susceptible to harm from violent game content. The research will result in a series of academic publications, and in specific recommendations for policies and for public education (including pilot programs for parents, schools and out-of-school youth programs).
Research subjects will include middle-school-aged youth from a range of socio-cultural and ethnic backgrounds, and their parents. Parental permission and human subject committee review will be obtained for the studies. Since we are looking at a range of variables, we plan to include a minimum of one thousand students and their parents in our initial survey samples.