Risky Sexual Intercourse on Entertainment Television: Comparing Audience Responses to Different Types of Negative Consequence Portrayals
AuthorFinnerty, Keli Lynn
Committee ChairKunkel, Dale
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThis study employed an experimental design to test the effects of exposure to televised portrayals of differing types of negative consequences of casual sex on emerging adults' sexual beliefs, attitudes, and behavioral intentions. Male and female undergraduates were randomly assigned to one of three viewing conditions. Participants either viewed a program that portrayed negative emotional/social consequences of casual sex (i.e., guilt, regret, embarrassment, disapproval of family and friends), a negative physical consequence of casual sex (i.e., an unplanned/unwanted pregnancy), or a program without any sexual content. Outcomes were assessed immediately after exposure. Five outcome variables were examined: negative outcome expectancies of risky sex, attitudes toward casual sex, attitudes toward condoms, behavioral intentions to avoid casual sex, and behavioral intentions to use condoms. Driven by social cognitive theory, hypotheses address expected differences among the three conditions on these five outcome variables.Hypotheses about the expected effects of portrayals of negative consequences of casual sex were not confirmed. Results indicate that exposure to negative consequences of casual sex on television does not uniformly influence emerging adults' sexual beliefs, attitudes, and behavioral intentions. Rather, the relationship between exposure and subsequent effects was found to be moderated by their sexual risk experience. Emerging adults with different amounts of sexual risk experience responded differently to the experimental stimuli. Participants who had extensive sexual risk experience were not influenced by the stimuli. However, effects of exposure to the negative consequence conditions were identified among participants who had little to moderate amounts of sexual risk experience. Both the negative physical and emotional/social consequence conditions led these participants to report safer sex outcomes. Findings imply that portrayals of both negative emotional/social and negative physical consequences of casual sex on television have the potential to positively influence the sexual attitudes and behavioral intentions of young people who do not already have substantial sexual risk experience.