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APHA Scientific Session and Event Listing

″What's happening… ″: An overview of sexual content in black-themed television programming

Brian C. Gordon, MA, CHES and Mike A. Perko, PhD, CHES. Department of Health Science/College of Human Environmental Science, The University of Alabama, P.O. Box 870311, Tuscaloosa, AL 35487-0311, 205-348-8366, bgordon@ches.ua.edu

African Americans watch more TV than any other race, with African American teens watching 7:55 per day compared to 6:33 viewed by the total U.S. teen population. A trend has been observed that programs viewed by African American adolescents include a greater concentration of sexual content than any other programs on television. Research posits that sexual messages on television may place African American adolescents at an increased risk due to earlier pubertal development, greater desire for acquiring information from this highly available source, and the need to identify role models not present in their community.

The purpose of this review is to discuss what is known about the exposure of African American adolescents to sexual content presented in television programming tailored towards an African American audience.

Presented will be an overview of studies conducted to analyze sexual content in media and their methodologies, which have proven to have numerous shortcomings. Additionally, although studies have been conducted to monitor sex on TV since 1998, the inclusion of programs most frequently viewed by African American adolescents is insignificant. Studies have documented a high prevalence of sexual content in programs viewed by the majority of a White adolescent audience; however, no studies have analyzed the prevalence of sexual content tailored to an at-risk African American adolescent audience. Discussion will focus on the influence television exerts on African American adolescents sexual behavior choices, differences in viewing preferences, and current knowledge of the sexual content presented. Furthermore, implications for future research will be discussed.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Adolescents, Media Message

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Not Answered

Handout (.ppt format, 63.5 kb)

Perspectives on HIV/AIDS & Sexual Issues

The 134th Annual Meeting & Exposition (November 4-8, 2006) of APHA