This study examines the effects of chronic (i.e., repeated and cumulative) mediated exposure to political violence on ideological beliefs regarding political conflict. It centers on these effects on young viewers, from preadolescents to adolescents. Ideological beliefs refers here to support of war, perception of threat to one’s nation, and normative beliefs concerning aggression toward the out-group. A longitudinal study was conducted on a sample of Israeli and Palestinian youths who experience the Israeli-Palestinian conflict firsthand (N = 1,207). Two alternative hypotheses were tested: that chronic exposure via the media increases support for war and aggression and elevates feeling of threat, or that chronic exposure via the media strengthens preexisting beliefs. Results demonstrated that higher levels of exposure were longitudinally related to stronger support for war. Regarding normative beliefs about aggression and threat to one’s nation, mediated exposure reinforced initial beliefs, rendering the youths more extreme in their attitudes. These results mostly support the conceptualization of the relation between media violence and behaviors as “reciprocally determined” or “reinforcing spirals.” The results are also discussed in light of the differences found between the effect of exposure to political violence firsthand and exposure via the media.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Sociology and Political Science
- beliefs about war
- exposure to violence
- political conflict
- reinforcing spirals model