Sexual socialization messages on entertainment television

Comparing content trends 1997-2002

Dale L Kunkel, Keren Eyal, Edward I Donnerstein, Kirstie M. Farrar, Erica Biely, Victoria Rideout

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

49 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Previous content analyses of sex on television have relied on differing measures and sampling strategies, which makes it difficult to compare patterns of sexual portrayals over time. This large-scale study (N = 2,817 programs) examines the sexual messages presented on television across both broadcast and cable channels over a 5-year period, applying identical measures to three biennial samples of program content. Results demonstrate that sexual talk and behavior are highly frequent aspects of the television environment. Talk about sex is shown more often than sexual behavior, though both types of content increased significantly from 1997/1998 to 2001/2002. Over that time span, the percentage of shows portraying sexual intercourse doubled from 7 to 14%. Results also show that topics related to sexual risks or responsibilities (e.g., condom use, abstinence) are increasingly included on television, but nonetheless remain infrequent overall. Such safe sex messages occur most frequently in program environments where they are most relevant (i.e., when sexual intercourse is included in the story). The content analysis findings are discussed in terms of their implications for audience effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)595-622
Number of pages28
JournalMedia Psychology
Volume9
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2007

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Socialization
Television
entertainment
socialization
television
Coitus
trend
Sexual Behavior
Safe Sex
Condoms
broadcast
content analysis
Cables
Sampling
responsibility
time

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Applied Psychology

Cite this

Sexual socialization messages on entertainment television : Comparing content trends 1997-2002. / Kunkel, Dale L; Eyal, Keren; Donnerstein, Edward I; Farrar, Kirstie M.; Biely, Erica; Rideout, Victoria.

In: Media Psychology, Vol. 9, No. 3, 2007, p. 595-622.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Kunkel, Dale L ; Eyal, Keren ; Donnerstein, Edward I ; Farrar, Kirstie M. ; Biely, Erica ; Rideout, Victoria. / Sexual socialization messages on entertainment television : Comparing content trends 1997-2002. In: Media Psychology. 2007 ; Vol. 9, No. 3. pp. 595-622.
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