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[ Recorded presentation ] Recorded presentation

Media influence on adolescent sexuality: A preliminary study

Georgia N. L. Johnston, PhD, CHES1, Viviana Rojas, PhD2, and Steven Levitt, PhD2. (1) Health and Kinesiology, University of Texas, San Antonio, 6900 N. Loop 1604 W., San Antonio, TX 78249, 210-458-5439, gjohnston@utsa.edu, (2) Communication, University of Texas, San Antonio, 6900 N. Loop 1604 W., San Antonio, TX 78249

It is estimated that nationally, adolescents have viewed over 15,000 hours of television by the time they graduate from high school but have spent only 11,000 hours in school. In recent studies, adolescents indicated that viewing sexual content on television increased their likelihood of sexual activity.

In the state of Texas, one semester of health education is required in the four years of high school. Sex education is not a required component. If sex education is taught, abstinence only education is mandated. In San Antonio, teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases are paramount issues.

The purpose of this pilot project was to determine local adolescentsí use of media and their perceptions, attitudes, and behaviors regarding sexual activity. Six focus groups were conducted (n=30); ages ranged from 14-18. The focus groups were audio taped, transcribed, and analyzed.

Analyses revealed that participants receive an inordinate amount of sexual information from television, music, and magazines. "Its all about sex" was a frequent comment. The teens admitted that sex in the media desensitized them to risks of, and increased their perceived pressure for participating in, sexual activity. Many of the teens voiced a desire for media to show consequences of sexual activity, including discussions about all sexual behavior and the risks for each.

The data derived from this pilot project will be used to develop a questionnaire for further distribution. The data will be analyzed and used to evaluate and improve current teaching practices and advocate for policy change regarding sexuality education for adolescents.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Sexual Behavior, Adolescents

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.

[ Recorded presentation ] Recorded presentation

School-Based HIV, STD, and Pregnancy Prevention

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