Television viewing and risk of sexual initiation by young adolescents

Sarah L. Ashby, Christine M. Arcari, M. Bruce Edmonson

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    67 Scopus citations

    Abstract

    Objective: To determine if television viewing is associated with the risk of initiating sexual intercourse in young adolescents. Design: Secondary analysis of data obtained from 1994 through 1996. Setting: The National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. Participants: The 4808 students younger than 16 years who had not initiated intercourse before baseline interview. Exposures: Primary exposure was self-reported daily television watching, categorized as low (<2 hours) or high (≥2 hours) use. Secondary exposure was parental regulation of television programming watched. Main Outcome Measure: Odds ratio for initiating intercourse by 1-year follow-up, adjusted for potential confounders. Results: At baseline, 2414 (48.8%) subjects watched television 2 or more hours per day. By 1-year follow-up, 791 (15.6%) subjects had initiated intercourse. Sexual initiation was associated with high television use (adjusted odds ratio, 1.35; 95% confidence interval, 1.01-1.79) and lack of parental regulation of television programming (adjusted odds ratio, 1.35; 95% confidence interval, 1.01-1.80). Most subjects (73.8%) reported strong parental disapproval of sex; their overall rate of initiation was 12.5%, and their risk was independently associated with high television use (adjusted odds ratio, 1.72; 95% confidence interval, 1.24-2.40) and lack of parental regulation of television programming (adjusted odds ratio, 1.35; 95% confidence interval, 1.01-1.81). Among adolescents who did not report strong parental disapproval, the rate of sexual initiation was higher (24.1%) but unrelated to television use. Conclusion: Among young adolescents who reported strong parental disapproval of sex, watching television 2 or more hours per day and lack of parental regulation of television programming were each associated with increased risk of initiating sexual intercourse within a year.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)375-380
    Number of pages6
    JournalArchives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine
    Volume160
    Issue number4
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Apr 1 2006

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    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health

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