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Author: Collins, Rebecca L.; Elliott, Marc N.; Berry, Sandra H.; Kanouse, David E.; Kunkel, Dale; Hunter, Sarah B.; Miu, Angela
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Year: 2004
Article Title: Watching sex on television predicts adolescent initiation of sexual behavior
Journal: Pediatrics
Volume: 114
Edition: 3
Issue: 114
Pages: 280-289
ISBN/ISSN: 1120-7507
Source of Funding:
Study Design:
Publication Type: Journal Article
Age Group: Adolescence (13-17 yrs), Childhood (birth-12 yrs), School Age (6-12 yrs)
Abstract: Objective: To determine the relationship between exposure to sex on television and adolescent sexual behavior.

Design: Longitudinal survey. Baseline and 1-year follow-up interviews, regarding TV viewing habits and sexual experience.

Subjects and Setting: 1792 12-17 year olds, contacted in national telephone survey from list purchased from Survey Sampling Inc. Over-sampling of minority households. Parental consent, adolescent's assent obtained prior to interview; interview conducted by phone, in private household room. 88% follow-up response rate. 48% female, 77% white, 13% African-American, 33% had parent with college degree.

Intervention(s): N/A

Outcome Measure(s): Initiation of intercourse and advancement of non-coital sexual activity level (over 1-year period).

Results: TV exposure to sexual content was significantly related to intercourse initiation (.47, p<.01) and advancing level of non-coital sex (.37, p<.01), while TV exposure to sexual risk or need for talk was negatively related to both, although insignificantly. For those in the 90th percentile of TV sexual content viewing, the likelihood of intercourse initiation was double that of the 10th percentile subjects. African-American adolescents were less likely to initiate intercourse and advance their non-coital activity level with exposure to sexual risk and safety portrayals than all other races.

Conclusion: Those adolescents watching high amounts of sexual content on television had increased probabilities of initiating sexual intercourse and advancing levels of non-coital sexual activity at a younger age. Center on Media and Child Health
Keywords: Adolescents
Gender Differences
Prime Time
Public Health
Racial Differences
Risk Factors
Sexual Behavior
Sexual Behavior (Media Content)
Social Learning
Television Programs



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