The interplay of parenting style and family rules about video games on subsequent fighting behavior

Amanda C. Cote, Stewart M. Coles, Sonya Dal Cin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Due to ongoing concerns about adolescent interpersonal aggression and debates surrounding violent media, this study assesses the potential impacts of parental mediation and parenting style on mature video game play and fighting behaviors using a longitudinal, random-digit-dial survey of adolescents (N = 2722). By simultaneously considering fighting, M-rated video game play, parental restrictions on media use, parenting style, and important covariates, we aim to provide further nuance to existing work on risk and protective factors for interpersonal aggression. Our results show that parental restriction has a significant, linear relationship with later fighting, whereby higher restrictions on a child's M-rated video game play predict decreases in reported fighting behavior. Authoritative parenting, high in both warmth and supervisory attention, also relates to decreased levels of fighting compared to other styles. Parenting style also moderated the effects of restriction, such that restriction was not equally predictive of fighting behavior across all parenting styles. However, the association between restriction and fighting was similar for highly demanding parenting styles, suggesting that authoritative parenting is not inherently superior to authoritarian. The effects of restriction were significant despite controlling for multiple covariates. Parental restriction of media use may be an effective strategy for parents concerned about violent games. Given some limitations in our dataset, we call for continued study in this area.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)135-147
Number of pages13
JournalAggressive Behavior
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2021


  • adolescent
  • aggression
  • longitudinal studies
  • parenting
  • protective factors
  • surveys and questionnaires
  • video games

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • General Psychology


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