Masters Thesis

Measuring Attitudes toward Media Violence Using Item-response Theory

Many researchers who study the link between media violence and increased aggression in participants use self-report scales to measure attitudes towards media violence (ATMV). Few researchers, however, use scales measuring ATMV that have strong psychometric properties. It was the purpose of this study to create a valid and informative measure of ATMV using the Nominal Response Model (NRM) under an item-response theory (IRT) framework. The scale is referred to as the Attitudes toward Media Violence Scale (ATMVS). The result of the study was a 20-item scale consisting of four functioning subscales measuring different dimensions of ATMV. The subscales were entitled “Children and Media Violence,” “Media Violence and Behavior,” “Realism,” and “Media Violence in Education.” The subscales of the ATMVS were found to have convergent validity by being positively correlated with a theoretically similar measure of parental attitudes toward children viewing television violence (Parental Concern Scale). Discriminant validity for each of the subscales was established by showing no correlation with a measure of self-esteem (Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale) theoretically unrelated to ATMV. Future research should seek to expand the number and variety of items within each subscale and to analyze the scale using multidimensional IRT.

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