Perceptions, attitudes and behaviors of African American adolescent females exposed to sexually explicit music videos

Date

5/30/2004

Authors

McMillian, Jennifer Scott

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Abstract

Sexual messages through mass media are becoming more explicit and more accessible to adolescents. Clearly adolescent sexuality is influenced by mass media sources that convey messages about sexual behavior.

The purpose of this study was to explore the perceptions, attitudes, and behaviors of African American females exposed to sexually explicit music videos. A convenience sample of twenty African American girls between the ages of 15–17 participated in one of four focus groups and completed a 51-item questionnaire to establish a profile of participants. Participants were recruited from two locations in Dallas County, a hair salon, and a community based organization.

The population of interest consisted of twenty African American females, ages 15–17 that self-reported watching low, medium, and high dosages of sexually explicit music videos during the past 12 months. In this study, low dosage was defined as less than three hours per week; medium dosage was greater than three, but less than seven hours per week; and high dosage was seven or more hours per week. Most participants self-reported that they were currently in a relationship. Sixty-five percent stated that they had vaginal intercourse sometime in their life, and 25% reported having sex in the last two months. With the exception of one participant, all females self-identified as being heterosexual.

Participants reported feeling that sexually explicit music videos portray distorted views of women. Additionally, the girls indicated that sexually explicit music videos increasingly depict women in compromising situations. All participants conveyed that sex in a monogamous relationship was very acceptable and could be a wonderful experience. Regarding relationships, participants reported that decisions about sexual behaviors should not be solely about pleasing your partner.

The findings from this study have significant implications for health professionals. Knowing that adolescents are having sex at younger ages, we need to begin to address issues of sexuality earlier in adolescent development. Clearly, health education and prevention programs need to be culturally, age, and developmentally appropriate for the target population. Health professionals should develop collaborative relationships with mass media professionals to effectively plan, implement and evaluate healthy adolescent sexual health programs.

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Keywords

Communication and the arts, Psychology, Adolescent, African-American, Girls, Music videos, Sexually explicit

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