Sex on Television and Its Impact on American Youth

Background and Results from the RAND Television and Adolescent Sexuality Study

Published in: Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics of North America, v. 14, no. 3, July 2005, p. 371-385

Posted on on January 01, 2005

by Rebecca L. Collins

Read More

Access further information on this document at

This article was published outside of RAND. The full text of the article can be found at the link above.

Many policy makers and parents have called for stricter regulation of television, fearing that the sexual content in this medium spurs adolescent sexual activity. Media theory and research over the last few decades are consistent with this notion but fall short of answering the question of whether television content is causally related to adolescent sexual behavior. This article briefly reviews this earlier work and discusses the results of several new studies based on the RAND Television and Adolescent Sexuality data set. Practitioners should discuss television use and television portrayals of sex with adolescents, and help youth to identity and avoid any adverse effects the media might have on their sexual development and sexual behavior.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation External publication series. Many RAND studies are published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, as chapters in commercial books, or as documents published by other organizations.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.