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Relationally Aggressive Media Exposure and Children's Normative Beliefs: Does Parental Mediation Matter?


  • Department of Human Development, Washington State University, 524 Johnson Tower, P.O. Box 644852, Pullman, WA 99164-4852.

Department of Psychology, Linfield College, 900 SE Baker St., McMinnville, OR 97128 (


Research indicates that relationally aggressive media exposure is positively associated with relational aggression in children. Theories of media effects suggest that these associations may be mediated by aggressive cognitions. Although parental mediation can attenuate the effects of violent media, it is unknown whether there are similar benefits of parental mediation of relationally aggressive media. The current study examined concurrent and longitudinal associations between relationally aggressive television and movie exposure and normative beliefs about relational aggression and whether parental mediation moderates these associations. Participants were 103 children (50% female) in grades 3–6 and their parents. The following year, 48 children (52% female) were again assessed. Relationally aggressive media exposure predicted concurrent relational aggression norms, even after controlling for physically aggressive media exposure and physical aggression norms. Relationally aggressive television and movie exposure predicted greater subsequent approval of relational aggression only among children whose parents engaged in low levels of active mediation.