Publication Date

Spring 2018

Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Douglas Clayton Smith (Director), Carrie Trojan, Holli Drummond

Degree Program

Department of Sociology

Degree Type

Master of Arts


For a while, video games have been the target of scrutiny with regards to their perceived potential to adversely affect younger individuals. In particular, it is often argued that these video games, particularly those of violent nature, may increase hostility to an extent that it manifests itself in violent behavior. This thesis aims to denote what effects these video games have on young adults, particularly in relation to the respondents’ indicated extent of adverse childhood experiences, trait anger, and competitiveness, all three of which were assumed to have a positive relationship with hostility. A survey was distributed to students attending Western Kentucky University in an attempt to measure what effects these three aforementioned variables have on young adults, in addition to what affects video game playing and violence in video games may have on hostility and aggression. From the data acquired, it was clear that while adverse childhood experiences had no statistical significance in this study and higher competitiveness indicated a very slight decline in hostility, trait anger did in fact appear to raise hostility in the respondents. Additionally, increases in exposure to both video game play and violence in video games were shown to lead to a decrease in hostility. From this, it would appear that trait anger was the only variable to truly increase hostility in young adults, and the often-discussed variables of video game play and violence in video games both appear to decrease hostility in respondents as exposure to either factor increases, thus going against the common assumptions.


Other Sociology | Social Psychology | Social Psychology and Interaction | Sociology