Skip to main content


Pardun, Carol J.; L'Engle, Kelly Ladin; & Brown, Jane D. (2005). Linking Exposure to Outcomes: Early Adolescents’ Consumption of Sexual Content in Six Media. Mass Communication and Society, 8(2), 75-91.


A media-use questionnaire was completed by 3,261 7th and 8th graders and a subsample of 1,074 respondents was interviewed about their sexual attitudes and behaviors. Based on results from the media survey, respondents' top television shows, movies, music, Internet sites, and newspapers were content analyzed for portrayals or references to pubertal development, romantic relationships, body exposure or nudity, sexual innuendo, touching and kissing, and sexual intercourse. Overall, 11% of the media used by respondents contained sexual content. A measure called the Sexual Media Diet (SMD) was developed to assess each individual's exposure to sexual content in the media, based on the combination of media consumption and content. The SMD measure showed a statistically significant association with adolescents' sexual activity and future intentions to be sexually active, with measures of movie and music exposure showing the strongest associations.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

Mass Communication and Society


Pardun, Carol J.
L'Engle, Kelly Ladin
Brown, Jane D.