Project Description

Understanding the unique role of media message processing in predicting adolescent sexual behavior intentions in the United States

Scull, T. M., Malik, C. V., & Kupersmidt, J. B. (2018). Understanding the unique role of media message processing in predicting adolescent sexual behavior intentions in the United States. Journal of Children and Media, 12(3), 258-274. doi:10.1080/17482798.2017.1403937

Abstract

Objectives: Investigate the role that media message processing variables stemming from the Message Interpretation Process (MIP) model play in adolescents’ intentions to engage in sexual activity.

Methods: Data collected from 873 adolescents in the United States were examined in an ordered logistic regression model containing demographic variables; attitudes; self-efficacy; parent and peer normative beliefs; and media message processing variables.

Results: Media message processing variables have a unique influence on adolescent sexual intentions above and beyond the influence of all the other predictors. Specifically, higher levels of perceived realism of, perceived similarity to, and identification with media messages were related to higher levels of adolescent sexual intent.

Conclusions: These findings support the relevance of logical processing of media messages for adolescent intentions for sexual activity and suggest that this may be a possible cognitive mechanism to address in media literacy education programs focusing on promoting healthy decision-making.