October 31, 2023, Durham, NC – iRT Research Scientists Drs. Christina Dodson and Reina Evans-Paulson will present at the 2023 meeting of The Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality’s (SSSS) annual conference in New Orleans, Louisiana this November.

Each year, SSSS invites professionals who conduct sexual research, who are interested in issues relating to sexuality, or whose work relates to sexual science to gather for networking opportunities, workshops, symposia, and presentations to share recent findings in sexual research and discuss topics related to sexuality. Dodson and Evans-Paulson will attend this year’s conference, which will be held November 16-19, 2023, to present findings from and implications of some of iRT’s research relating to sexual health and media literacy.

Dr. Dodson will give a poster presentation entitled A Healthy Dose of Skepticism: The Relationship Between Young Adolescents’ Sexual Media Diet and Intentions to Engage in Sexual Activity is Moderated by Media Skepticism. Research has shown that when adolescents are exposed to greater amounts of sexual media content, they may be more likely to make an earlier sexual debut, and sexual debut during adolescence is associated with risky sexual behaviors and an increased risk of STIs and unplanned pregnancy. Therefore, it is important to understand what factors may protect adolescents from the negative outcomes associated with early sexual debut and exposure to sexual media content. During this presentation, Dodson will discuss research findings on how media skepticism (i.e., feelings of distrust towards media messages) may moderate the relationship between adolescents’ sexual media diet and their intentions to engage in sexual activity.

Dodson will also lead an oral presentation entitled A Qualitative Study Examining Resources to Address Sexual Health and Sexual Violence at Community Colleges Across the U.S.: Conversations with Administrators, Faculty, and Staff. Even though college students are at risk for experiencing poor sexual health outcomes, limited research exists on the sexual health resources available to and used by community colleges to combat these risks. This presentation will cover results from a recent qualitative study that helps fill the gap in community college sexual health research and examines the resources and health promotion approaches that exist at community colleges in the United States. During this presentation, Dodson will also highlight the challenges that community colleges face in providing students with sexual and relationship resources as well as implications of study findings for session attendees.

Dr. Evans-Paulson will lead an oral presentation entitled Critical media attitudes as a buffer against the harmful effects of pornography on beliefs about sexual and dating violence: A cross-sectional study with early high school students. As online pornography platforms become more accessible, adolescents are more regularly exposed to pornography, and at increasingly younger ages. Pornography often depicts male-perpetrated physical aggression paired with sexual activity, and studies have shown that adolescent pornography use is associated with unhealthy beliefs about gender, sex, and relationships. Evans-Paulson will outline findings from a study that examined how critical media attitudes may help protect adolescents from the harmful impacts of pornography on their sexual and relationship health. Session attendees will have the opportunity to discuss the importance of media literacy education to protect adolescents from the harmful impacts of pornography in an increasingly digital world.

Evans-Paulson will also give a poster presentation entitled Sexual Health Behaviors and Cognitions of Young U.S. Community College Students: Towards the Provision of Comprehensive and Inclusive Sexual Health Education and Care to discuss the state of the sexual health of community college students. Young adults who attend community college face distinct barriers to sexual health, but community college students remain an understudied population in research on young adult wellbeing. Evans-Paulson will present the results of a recent study which aimed to fill this gap in research by assessing the sexual health of community college students and examining whether sexual health outcomes differ by gender and sexual identity. Session attendees will have the opportunity to discuss implications of study findings and the need for resources for community college students to promote healthy decision-making about sexual health.

To learn more about The Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality’s (SSSS) annual conference, visit the SSSS website.