Women and violence

Hi Patrick,

I’m an occupational therapist and sensory specialist with expertise on the impact of media violence on aggression, and would like to comment on your questions regarding women and violence.

Media violence found in movies, internet and video games is statistically the most salient determinant for aggression, although you are unlikely to hear much about that in the “news”. Surprisingly, it isn’t the intensity of violence, but rather the overall number of viewed violent episodes that is causally linked to aggression. Violence is termed “intentional harm” and is found in 60% of TV and movies, and 95% of video games.

While men used to lead women in acts of violence statistics, with the rise in technology use by women, they are rapidly catching up!

I’ve included a except from my Fact Sheet below for your review. Let me know if you’d like any additional information.

Have a GREAT day!


Cris Rowan, BScOT, BScBi, SIPT, Approved Provider AOTA
CEO Zone’in Programs Inc.
6840 Seaview Rd.
Sechelt, BC V0N3A4
604-885-0986 office, 604-885-0389 fax
email crowan@zonein.ca
website www.zonein.ca

Media Violence

  • Violent media is a public health threat. A review of 50 years of research on the impact of violence in TV, movies, videogames and internet concludes that watching media violence significantly increases the risk that a viewer or videogame player will behave aggressively in both the short and the long term. 60% of TV programs contain violence and 40% contain heavy violence. Most videogames contain violence. Authors state the impact of violent electronic media on public health is second only to the impact of cigarette smoking on lung cancer (1).
  • In the short term, media violence can increase aggression by priming aggressive thoughts and decision processes increasing physiological arousal, and triggering a tendency to imitate observed behaviors. In the long-term, repeated exposure can produce lasting increases in aggressive thought patterns and aggression-supporting beliefs about social behaviors, and can reduce individuals normal negative emotional responses to violence (2)
  • Studied effects of violent video games and found even violent cartoons increased aggression in 9-12 year old children. Violent is defined as doing intentional harm to another, not how graphic or gory the game is. Increased exposure to violent videogames results in more pro-violent attitudes, hostile personalities, less forgiveness, belief that violence is typical, behave more aggressively in every day life (3)
  • Young children most vulnerable to media violence due to are more impressionable, can’t distinguish between fantasy and reality, cannot discern motives for violence, and learn by observing and imitating (4).


  • Survey of 3,767 grade 6, 7, 8 students who attended six schools in the US found 11% had been electronically bullied and 4% indicated they had bullied a victim in the past month. Half of the electronic bully victims reported not knowing the perpetrator’s identity (5).
  • Youth who reported being harasses online were 8 times more likely to carry a weapon to school in the past 30 days (6).
  • While online cyberbullying occurs off campus, resulting altercations happen on site (7).
  • Internet bullying is correlated with school behavior problems, and media literacy programs may mitigate the negative effects of electronic media on youth (8).

1. Huesmann LR. The Impact of Electronic Media Violence: Scientific Theory and Research. Journal of Adolescent Health. 2007; 41: S6-13.
2. Anderson CA, Berkowitz, L, Donnerstein E, Huesmann LR, Johnson JD, Linz D, Malamuth NM, Wartella E. The Influence of Media Violence on Youth. Psychological Science in the Public Interest. 2003; 4:81-110.
3. Anderson C, Gentile D. Violent Video Game effects on Children and Adolescents. Oxford: Oxford University Press; 2007.
4. Buchanan AM, Gentile DA, Nelson DA, Walsh DA, Hensel J. What goes in must come out: Children’s Media Violence Consumption at Home and Aggressive Behaviours at School. Paper presented at the International Society for the Study of Behavioural Development Conference, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Available online at: www.mediafamily.org/research/report_issbd_2002.shtml.
5. Kowalski RM, Limber SP. Electronic Bullying Among Middle School Students. Journal of Adolescent Jealth. 2007; 41:S22-30.
6. Ybarra ML, Diener-West M, Leaf PJ. Examining the Overlap in Internet Harassment and School Bullying: Implications for School Intervention. Journal of Adolescent Health. 2007; 41:S42-S50.
7. Willard NE. The Authority and Responsibility of School Officials in Responding to Cyberbullying. Journal of Adolescent Health. 2007; 41:S64-65.
8. Worthen MR. Education Policy Implications from the Expert Panel on Electronic Media and Youth Violence. Journal of Adolescent Health. 2007; 41:S61-63.