Indirect aggression in the media: A content analysis of british television programs


indirect aggression, relational aggression, social aggression, television, adolescents


The purpose of this study is to determine how much indirect aggression occurs in television programs popular among British adolescents. Previous research has mainly focused on violence in the media rather than examining this more manipulative and subtle type of aggression. A content analysis of 228 hours of television programming revealed that indirect aggression was portrayed in 92.04% of all episodes analyzed. It was portrayed more frequently than physical and verbal aggression. Females were more likely to be shown as indirect aggressors than were males, while males were more likely to be portrayed as physical aggressors. Attractive aggressors were more likely to use indirect than other types of aggression. Indirect aggression was often found to be justified, realistic, and rewarded. We conclude that programs that are not considered violent may still contain a large amount of other types of aggression. Aggr. Behav. 30:254–271, 2004. © 2004 Wiley‐Liss, Inc.

Original Publication Citation

Coyne, S. M. & Archer, J. (2004) Indirect aggression in the media: A content analysis of British television programs. Aggressive Behavior, 30, 254-271.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date


Permanent URL


Aggressive Behavior




Family, Home, and Social Sciences


Family Life

University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor