Sex Roles

, Volume 80, Issue 5–6, pp 310–324 | Cite as

Video Game Playing and Beliefs about Masculinity Among Male and Female Emerging Adults

  • Greg Blackburn
  • Erica ScharrerEmail author
Original Article


Video games have been soundly critiqued for their depiction of gender, and emerging research has shown that playing can be associated with holding stereotypical or narrow views of gender roles and norms. Yet, rarely has past research focused particularly on correlations between video game playing and perceptions of masculinity, in particular, despite critiques of gaming content and culture as a space where a type of hypermasculinity thrives. The current study explores the relationships between the overall amount of time spent with video games and time spent with games that contain violence with beliefs that emerging adults hold about masculine gender role norms. In a sample of 244 young adult video game players from across the United States, amount of perceived violence in favorite games is shown to predict scores on the Masculine Role Norms Index-Revised and some of its subscales, even under multiple controls. Gender identity of respondent does not moderate the relationships, thereby suggesting that both men and women players with violent favorite games are likely to endorse a view of masculinity that includes aggression, dominance, toughness, and the suppression of emotions. Implications for policymakers, students and other young adults, and for society at large are discussed.


Media Media effects Video games Gender Gender roles Masculinity Violence Violent media Cultivation theory 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

There are no potential conflicts of interest to report. There is no funding source to report. The research protocol underwent review at the Institutional Review Board at University of Massachusetts Amherst in March, 2015. Participants provided informed consent online before beginning the survey.

Supplementary material

11199_2018_934_MOESM1_ESM.docx (29 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 29 kb)


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of CommunicationUniversity of Massachusetts AmherstAmherstUSA

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