Early adolescent sexual knowledge, values, and beliefs: The role of mass media, peers, parent communication, and religiosity




Baxter, Vivian

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



Sexual messages are ever prevalent on television, the internet, and in music; making access to sexual content, whether inadvertently or intentionally, fairly easy for early adolescents. The purpose of this study was to look at early adolescent media diets and how media and peers inform their knowledge and beliefs about sex as well as whether parents or religiosity play a role in how adolescents filter sexual messages. Theoretical frameworks guiding this study were cultivation theory and social Cognitive theory. Cultivation theory addressed adolescent media consumption and social cognitive theory addressed peer influence. This research study used path analysis via additive moderation and mediation analysis via multiple linear regression to analyze data generated from parents and adolescents via a researcher made survey and the TV Mediation Scale (Valkenburg et al., 1999). A total of 99 parents and 63 adolescents completed their respective surveys. Findings revealed that peer influence was a significant predictor of sexual values and beliefs and that parent communication and religiosity were significant moderators in this relationship. Religiosity significantly predicted level of parent communication, but did not significantly predict sexual values and beliefs. Religiosity also predicted accurate sexual knowledge through parent communication. When active mediation was entered into the parent communication equation, the overall models of parent communication and active mediation predicting accurate sexual knowledge and sexual values and beliefs were found to be significant. Implications, limitations, and directions for future research were also discussed.



Behavioral psychology, Early adolescents, Mass media, Parent communication, Peer influence, Religiosity, Sexual knowledge, Sexual values