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Researching youth want to know: Do teens think media influences young people's sexual behavior?

Kimberlee Wyche-Etheridge, MD, MPH, Division of Child and Adolescent Health, Metro Nashville Public Health Department, 311 23rd Ave North, Nashville, TN 37203, 615-340-5614, kimberlee.wyche@nashville.gov, Jennifer Kosinski, MS, RD, Youth Advisory Board, Division of Child and Adolescent Health, Metro Nashville Public Health Department, 311 23rd Ave North, Nashville, TN 37203, and Burns Rogers, MPH, YAB educational advisor, Metro Nashville Davidson County Public Health Department, 311 23rd Ave N, Nashville, TN 37203.

Teen researchers in Nashville determined that adolescent sexual behavior is a priority. Qualitative and quantitative data were analyzed by fifteen public and private high school students as part of the Metro Public Health Department’s Youth Advisory Board Project ASK: Adolescents Seeking Knowledge. There is good reason to believe that sexual content in the media influences adolescent sexual behavior. A 2002 Kaiser Family Foundation study, entitled, Teens, Sex & TV, found that teens watch between three to four hours of television per day. Others studies cite even greater hours in front of the TV. The Kaiser study found that nearly 72% of 15-17 year olds believe that sexual content on TV influences the behavior of kids their age “some what” (40%) or “a lot” (32%). As a result, Project ASK wanted to know what perception Nashville teens have regarding the influence of media (TV, music, and marketing) concerning sexual behavior. Using the principles of sound public health practice, taught by public health professionals, students created a survey. The instrument was administered to 200, 9th-12th grade public and private high school students attending the Mayor’s Youth Summit. Interventions were planned and implemented based on survey findings, and when possible and appropriate addressed disparities in age, race and gender. Students develop skills that equip them for adulthood as a result of participating in public health research. Focus groups and a pre-post reflective survey tool were administered to measure the growth and development of Project ASK members to determine youth leadership development outcomes.

Learning Objectives: Participants will be able to

Keywords: Youth, Sexual Risk Behavior

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

Where do Youth Get Reproductive Health Information? Communication to Improve Behavior

The 132nd Annual Meeting (November 6-10, 2004) of APHA