relational aggression, indirect aggression, physical aggression, media, violence


Research has shown that viewing violence in the media can have a profound impact on aggressive thoughts and behaviors. However, the impact of viewing relational aggression in the media has rarely been examined. This paper presents the results of an experimental study that examines the impact of viewing relational and physical aggression in the media on subsequent aggression. In this study, adult females were shown video clips containing no-aggression, relational aggression, or physical aggression. Their aggressive behavior was measured through the use of a competitive reaction time task (physical aggression) and evaluations of a confederate of the experiment (relational aggression). As a whole, participants viewing either relational or physical aggression behaved similarly. Specifically, participants who viewed either type of aggression were subsequently more physically and relationally aggressive than those who viewed the non-aggressive clip. The results show evidence for a generalization effect of viewing media aggression, in that viewing one form of aggression can influence the manifestation of other forms. This is the first study to show that viewing relational aggression in the media can increase subsequent physical aggression. Implications for parents, media producers, and policy makers are discussed.

Original Publication Citation

Coyne, S. M., Nelson, D. A., *Lawton, F., *Haslam, S., *Rooney, L., *Titterington, L., *Trainor, H., *Remnant, J., & *Ogunlaja, L. (2008). The effects of viewing physical and relational aggression in the media: Evidence for across-over effect. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 44, 1551-1554.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date



Journal of Experimental Social Psychology




Family, Home, and Social Sciences


Family Life

University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor