Effects of Viewing Relational Aggression on Television on Aggressive Behavior in Adolescents: A Three-Year Longitudinal Study


Sarah Coyne


media, relational aggression, indirect aggression, social aggression, physical aggression


Most researchers on media and aggression have examined the behavioral effects of viewing physical aggression in the media. Conversely, in the current study, I examined longitudinal associations between viewing relational aggression on TV and subsequent aggressive behavior. Participants included 467 adolescents who completed a number of different questionnaires involving media and aggression at 3 different time points. Results revealed that viewing relational aggression on TV was longitudinally associated with future relational aggression. However, early levels of relational aggression did not predict future exposure to televised relational aggression. Conversely, there was a bidirectional relationship between TV violence and physical aggression over time. No longitudinal evidence was found for a general effect of viewing TV, as all significant media effects were specific to the type of aggression viewed. These results support the general aggression model and suggest that viewing relational aggression in the media can have a long-term effect on aggressive behavior during adolescence.

Original Publication Citation

Coyne, S. M. (2016). Effects of viewing relational aggression on television on aggressive behavior in adolescents: A three-year longitudinal study. Developmental Psychology, 52, 284-295.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date



developmental psychology




Family, Home, and Social Sciences


Family Life

University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor