The American Psychological Association Task Force assessment of violent video games: Science in the service of public interest

Sandra L. Calvert*, Mark Appelbaum, Kenneth A. Dodge, Sandra Graham, Gordon C. Nagayama Hall, Sherry Hamby, Lauren G. Fasig-Caldwell, Martyna Citkowicz, Daniel P. Galloway, Larry V. Hedges

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Scopus citations


A task force of experts was convened by the American Psychological Association (APA) to update the knowledge and policy about the impact of violent video game use on potential adverse outcomes. This APA Task Force on Media Violence examined the existing literature, including the meta-analyses in the field, since the last APA report on media violence in 2005. Because the most recent meta-analyses were published in 2010 and reflected work through 2009, the task force conducted a search of the published studies from 2009-2013. These recently published articles were scored and assessed by a systematic evidentiary review, followed by a meta-analysis of the high utility studies, as documented in the evidentiary review. Consistent with the literature that we reviewed, we found that violent video game exposure was associated with: an increased composite aggression score; increased aggressive behavior increased aggressive cognitions; increased aggressive affect, increased desensitization, and decreased empathy and increased physiological arousal. The size of the effects was similar to that in prior meta-analyses, suggesting a stable result. Our task force concluded that violent video game use is a risk factor for adverse outcomes, but found insufficient studies to examine any potential link between violent video game use and delinquency or criminal behavior. Our technical report is the basis of this article.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)126-143
Number of pages18
JournalAmerican Psychologist
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2017


  • APA task force on violent media
  • Aggression
  • Policy
  • Public interest
  • Video game violence
  • Violence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


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