Teen pregnancy ‘higher among those watching sexual TV content’

Telegraph (UK) 03 Nov 2008

Teenagers who watch television programmes with strong sexual content are twice as likely to become or make a partner pregnant than those who do not, a study suggests. Popular programmes such as Sex and the City and Friends, which focus on the positive aspects of sex without highlighting its risks, can lead teenagers to have unprotected sex “before they’re ready to make responsible and informed decisions,” according to its authors.

The study, which is published in the latest issue of the US journal Pediatrics, saw 2,003 12-to-17-year-olds interviewed about their television viewing habits. They were asked how often they watched a selection of 20 programmes found to have a high amount of sexual dialogue or behaviour. Three years later, they were re-interviewed about pregnancy. The researchers found that since first being interviewed, 58 girls had became pregnant while 33 boys had made a girl pregnant. Pregnancies were twice as common among those subjects who had said they watched the sexually-charged programmes regularly compared with those who reported hardly ever watching them. The study was led by Anita Chandra, a behavioural scientist for the Rand Corporation in the US. She said that television viewing habits were strongly linked to teen pregnancy even when other factors, including school results, family situation and parents’ education, were controlled for.

READ FULL REPORT http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/cgi/reprint/114/3/e280