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Video Game Violence and Gun Use

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ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT03259139
Recruitment Status : Recruiting
First Posted : August 23, 2017
Last Update Posted : August 22, 2018
Sponsor:
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
Brad Bushman, Ohio State University

Brief Summary:
More American children die by accidental gun use than children in other developed countries. One factor that can influence children's interest in guns is exposure to media containing guns. The objective of this study is to test whether children who play a video game containing guns will handle a real gun longer and will pull the trigger more times than children who see the same movie without guns.

Condition or disease Intervention/treatment Phase
Psychology, Social Adolescent Behavior Behavioral: Video games and violence Not Applicable

Detailed Description:

The design will be a 2 (player vs. observer) x 3 (nonviolent, violent with sword, violent with gun) between-subjects study. Participants will randomly be assigned to conditions. Participants will be tested in pairs. The participant in the player condition will play a video game while the participant in the watcher condition will watch. The participants will be in the same room, seated next to each other.

Video games will be chosen for the three conditions which have no violent content (nonviolent condition), violent content with a sword as a weapon for the player (violent with sword condition), and violent content with a gun as a weapon (violent with gun condition). All games chosen will be age appropriate (rated E) and have a consistent perspective (i.e., 1st person or 3rd person) between conditions. Participants will be asked how familiar they are with the video game used to control for experience with the stimulus. Gameplay will last for 20 minutes.

The measures for experiment 3 will include the media habits, aggressive behavior, attitude toward guns, and guns in the home measures listed for experiment 1. In addition, parents will be asked if their children have taken a gun safety course and a behavioral measure will be whether or not children handle a real (but non-firing) gun and whether they pull the trigger.

Participants will be tested in pairs, with a sibling or friend. Participants will be placed in a room containing toys, with a camera on the wall. Participants will be told that they can play with any of the toys in the room for the next 20 minutes. The toys will be placed will be placed in drawers inside a cabinet. Inside the room, two brightly colored plastic Nerf dart guns and two handguns will be placed in separate drawers, as in previous research. The handguns will be modified so they cannot fire. Inside the magazine, the handguns contain no bullets. They do, however, contain a sensor that counts the number of times the trigger is depressed with sufficient force to discharge the weapon. This allows us to distinguish reliably the children who pull the trigger from those who only handle the gun. Parents will be asked to predict whether their child will handle the real gun and pull the trigger. The researcher and the parents will be able to watch the session via a monitor in a control room. A thorough debriefing will follow (see attachment). The investigators also have received letters of support from the Director of the School of Communication and from the Chief of Police (see attachments). The investigators predict the highest levels of playing with guns and firing them among participants who see a violent clip containing guns.


Study Type : Interventional  (Clinical Trial)
Estimated Enrollment : 384 participants
Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Single Group Assignment
Intervention Model Description: Participants are randomly assigned to play a non-violent video game, a violent video game containing swords, or a violent video game containing guns.
Masking: Single (Participant)
Masking Description: Participants did not know which condition they were in. Participants' parents were aware of the deception (hidden guns) and what condition their children were in. Research personnel knew conditions as well. Research assistants who transcribed recorded laboratory sessions did not know what condition they were coding (eg. what type of game they played)
Primary Purpose: Other
Official Title: Exposure to Gun Violence in Video Games Increases Interest in Real Guns
Actual Study Start Date : July 1, 2017
Estimated Primary Completion Date : September 2018
Estimated Study Completion Date : September 2018

Arm Intervention/treatment
Experimental: Experimental: Violence with guns
Participants in this condition will play a video game with violent content which includes guns.
Behavioral: Video games and violence
Participants will be randomly assigned to play a video game which contains either (1) no violent content, (2) violent content with swords, or (3) violent content with guns. The game, rated E, is age appropriate and modded to include guns in the appropriate condition.

Experimental: Experimental: Violence without guns
Participants in this condition will play a video game with violent content which does not include guns. Instead, the violence will include weapons such as swords.
Behavioral: Video games and violence
Participants will be randomly assigned to play a video game which contains either (1) no violent content, (2) violent content with swords, or (3) violent content with guns. The game, rated E, is age appropriate and modded to include guns in the appropriate condition.

Control: No violence
Participants in this condition will play a video game which contains no violent content or weapons.
Behavioral: Video games and violence
Participants will be randomly assigned to play a video game which contains either (1) no violent content, (2) violent content with swords, or (3) violent content with guns. The game, rated E, is age appropriate and modded to include guns in the appropriate condition.




Primary Outcome Measures :
  1. Time spent holding gun [ Time Frame: Number of times participant pulled trigger of real firearm during the intervention (20 minute play session) ]
    Time (in seconds) participant spent holding the real firearm during the play session

  2. Number of trigger pulls [ Time Frame: Number of times participant pulled trigger of real firearm during the intervention (20 minute play session) ]
    Number of times participant pulled trigger of real firearm during the play session



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Ages Eligible for Study:   8 Years to 12 Years   (Child)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   Yes
Criteria

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Age 8-12yrs, had not participated in study prior, was able to schedule participation with a known peer (8-12yo).

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Younger than 8yo, older than 12yo, had participated in study prior, could not schedule participation with a known peer (8-12yo)

Information from the National Library of Medicine

To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contact information provided by the sponsor.

Please refer to this study by its ClinicalTrials.gov identifier (NCT number): NCT03259139


Contacts
Contact: Brad J Bushman, PhD 614-688-8779 bushman.20@osu.edu
Contact: Justin H Chang, BA 425-765-5792 chang.1573@osu.edu

Locations
United States, Ohio
Ohio State University Recruiting
Columbus, Ohio, United States, 43210
Contact: Brad J Bushman, PhD    614-688-8779    bushman.20@osu.edu   
Contact: Justin H Chang    4257655792    chang.1573@osu.edu   
Sponsors and Collaborators
Ohio State University

Responsible Party: Brad Bushman, Professor of Communication & Psychology, Ohio State University
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT03259139     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: 2013B0542
First Posted: August 23, 2017    Key Record Dates
Last Update Posted: August 22, 2018
Last Verified: August 2018
Individual Participant Data (IPD) Sharing Statement:
Plan to Share IPD: Undecided
Plan Description: The investigators are considering making individual participant data available, but need to determine steps and appropriateness according to our institutional IRB board.

Studies a U.S. FDA-regulated Drug Product: No
Studies a U.S. FDA-regulated Device Product: No

Keywords provided by Brad Bushman, Ohio State University:
adolescent
gun
violence
media