Date of Completion


Embargo Period



video games, hostile sexism, violence, sexual objectification

Major Advisor

Hart Blanton

Associate Advisor

Felicia Pratto

Associate Advisor

John Christensen

Field of Study



Doctor of Philosophy

Open Access

Open Access


Given the evidence linking violent video games with aggression, the proliferation of sexualized female video game characters, and the availability of commercial video games containing violence against women, there is a need to examine the effects of playing violent video games against sexualized female opponents. A total of 710 male undergraduates participated in five studies using lab-developed first-person-shooter games (Studies 1 and 2) and commercially available third-person-fighting games (Studies 3, 4, and 5). Psychological immersion was explored as a moderator in all studies, and sexual arousal was explored in Studies 4 and 5. Shooting sexualized female opponents, but not male opponents, led to increased hostile sexism to the extent that immersion was high (Study 1), even after controlling for pretest hostile sexism (Study 2). Shooting nonsexualized female opponents did not result in increased hostile sexism (Study 2). In general, hostile sexism was also greater after fighting sexualized female opponents than male opponents in commercially available games (Studies 3, 4, and 5). Further, fighting a sexualized female opponent led to increased willingness to have sex without a condom among participants reporting sexual arousal (Studies 4 and 5). Future research should focus on identifying mechanisms that contribute to increased hostile sexism and willingness to engage in sexual risk following violent video game play against sexualized female opponents.