Using a national, telephone survey of 1,762 adolescents ages 12-17, this study identifies the prospective predictors of exposure to television’s sexual content, with particular emphasis on the contributions of teenagers’ sexual readiness versus household television policies. Though believing that one’s friends approve of sex and having greater noncoital sexual experience predicted heavier viewing of sexual content in the subsequent year, household restrictions had a nearly equal and opposite effect. In particular, having a television in the bedroom and spending more time at home unsupervised at baseline were associated with heavier viewing of sexual content one year later. In addition, Black, female, younger, and more highly viewer-involved teens watched significantly more sexually oriented television than did other groups. Results are considered in light of recent findings showing that heavier viewing of televised sexual content leads to more rapid initiation of sexual intercourse in the subsequent year (Collins et al., 2004).
Reprinted with permission from Media Psychology, Vol. 8, No. 4, Dec. 2006, pp. 449-471. Copyright © 2006 Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.