Media literacy education (MLE) is one of the primary strategies used by Prevention Central research teams at iRT to develop innovative, evidence-based programs. Prevention Central scientists are on the forefront of  researching the influence of media on adolescents’ sexual attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors, and have found that MLE is an effective way to promote adolescent sexual health. Two researchers, Drs. Tracy Scull and Christina Malik, were honored to use their expertise in this field to contribute to the International Encyclopedia of Media Literacy, which was published in May 2019.

Their entry, “Role of Entertainment Media in Sexual Socialization,” provides an overview of the most current research findings on sexual content in entertainment media, and media influence on sexual health attitudes and behaviors. Detailing prominent theoretical approaches to how media play a role in sexual socialization, the chapter describes the role of media in sexual socialization as an important and complex topic for research. The authors identify gaps in knowledge related to this topic and suggest directions for new work. The research and theory that is described in this chapter have also been used as a framework in the developments of new intervention programs such as iRT’s Media Aware line of sexual health education programs.

Drs. Scull and Malik are not the only iRT scientists who contributed to the International Encyclopedia of Media Literacy; Dr. Kupersmidt co-authored “Media Literacy and Smoking,” a chapter informed by her innovative work in the field of substance abuse prevention using MLE. The entries from iRT’s scientists and the overall encyclopedia aim to be a reference for students, teachers, and scholars interested in the field of media literacy.

For more information about Dr. Kupersmidt’s entry, see “iRT Scientist Contributes to Chapter on Media Literacy and Smoking in the International Encyclopedia of Media Literacy.”