Genetics linked to violent media consumption in children
A new study has found that a specific variation of the serotonin-transporter gene was linked to children who engaged in increased viewing of violent TV and playing of violent video games.
Sanne Nikkelen, Helen Vossen, and Patti Valkenburg of the University of Amsterdam's School of Communication Research, in collaboration with researchers at the Erasmus University Medical Centre in Rotterdam, analyzed survey data of 1,612 parents of Dutch children ages 5-9.
The parents noted how much violent TV programming their children viewed, as well as how often they played violent video games. DNA samples collected at the children's birth were then analyzed to determine a certain gene variant.
The researchers found that children that had the specific variant of the serotonin-transporter gene on average consumed more violent media and displayed more ADHD-related behaviors.
This study is the first to specifically examine violent media content and to examine a specific gene variant. There have been earlier studies looking at whether violent media use is related to ADHD-related behaviors, but these have found mixed results.
The study was published in the Journal of Communication.
(Posted on 20-02-2014)