Understanding the effects of MTV's 16 and pregnant on adolescent girls' beliefs, attitudes, and behavioral intentions toward teen pregnancy

Jennifer Stevens Aubrey, Elizabeth Behm-Morawitz, Kyungbo Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

22 Scopus citations


This article examines the impact of a popular documentary series about teen pregnancy, MTV's 16 and Pregnant, on adolescent girls' pregnancy-related attitudes, beliefs, and behavioral intentions. The results suggest that girls who watched 16 and Pregnant, compared with a control group, reported a lower perception of their own risk for pregnancy and a greater perception that the benefits of teen pregnancy outweigh the risks. The authors also examined the relationships between homophily and parasocial interaction with the teen moms featured in 16 and Pregnant and attitudes, beliefs, and behavioral intentions, finding that homophily predicted lower risk perceptions, greater acceptance of myths about teen pregnancy, and more favorable attitudes about teen pregnancy. Parasocial interaction demonstrated the same pattern of results, with the addition of also predicting fewer behavioral intentions to avoid teen pregnancy. Last, results revealed that teen girls' perceptions that the message of 16 and Pregnant was encouraging of teen pregnancy predicted homophily and parasocial interaction with the teen moms. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1145-1160
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Health Communication
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 3 2014


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Communication
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Library and Information Sciences

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