We hypothesized that exposure to profanity in media would be directly related to beliefs and behavior regarding profanity and indirectly to aggressive behavior.
We examined these associations among 223 adolescents attending a large Midwestern middle school. Participants completed a number of questionnaires examining their exposure to media, attitudes and behavior regarding profanity, and aggressive behavior.
Results revealed a positive association between exposure to profanity in multiple forms of media and beliefs about profanity, profanity use, and engagement in physical and relational aggression. Specifically, attitudes toward profanity use mediated the relationship between exposure to profanity in media and subsequent behavior involving profanity use and aggression.
The main hypothesis was confirmed, and implications for the rating industry and research field are discussed.