Kids' Sexual Behavior Influenced by Movie Scenes (U.S. News & World Report)

A U.S. News & World Report article details the results of a study released by Dartmouth researchers that suggests that exposure to sexual content in movies can influence teens’ sexual behaviors.

Researchers from the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences and the Geisel School of Medicine analyzed the sexual content of hundreds of movies released between 1998 and 2004, explains U.S. News & World Reports. The researchers then surveyed more than 1,200 adolescents, ages 12 to 14, about those movies.

Six years later, the researchers interviewed the same group of adolescents about their sexual activity and behaviors. Their findings, according to the article, showed that “teens who were exposed to more sexual content in movies started having sex at a younger age and had more sex partners.”

The study’s lead author, Ross O’Hara, now a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Missouri, conducted the research while he was a PhD student in Dartmouth’s  Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences.  In a news release from the Association for Psychological Science, O’Hara says, "These movies appear to fundamentally influence (teens’) personality through changes in sensation-seeking, which has far-reaching implications for all of their risk-taking behaviors.”

Read the full story, published 7/19/12 in U.S. News & World Report.