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Men’s media use, sexual cognitions, and sexual risk behavior: Testing a meditational model
Developmental Psychology (2011)
  • Ann M Merriwether, Binghamton University--SUNY
  • Monique L. Ward
  • Marina Epstein
  • Allison Caruthers
Efforts to link media use to adolescents' sexual initiation have produced somewhat inconsistent results, perhaps as a result of the limited framing of the question. This study sought to expand current approaches by sampling college students instead of high school students, by investigating a range of sexual behaviors and media formats, and by testing a model that featured sexual cognitions as mediators. We tested our model with a sample of 796 heterosexual, male college students who reported on their regular consumption of 4 media (prime-time TV programs, music videos, movies, and men's magazines); their attitudes toward abstinence, the male sexual role, and nonrelational sex; their perceptions of peer sexual behavior; and several aspects of their sexual behavior (e.g., number of sexual partners). Findings revealed strong support for our mediated model, with exposure to men's magazines and movies contributing most strongly to their sexual cognitions, and with men's cognitions, in turn, contributing heavily to their sexual behavior. Some direct connections from media use to sexual behavior also emerged. Together, the findings provide insight into both potential mechanisms for and new approaches to addressing this issue. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)
  • sexual behaviors,
  • men's cognition
Publication Date
March, 2011
Citation Information
Ward, L.M., Epstein, M., Caruthers, S., & Merriwether, A. (2011). Men’s media use, sexual cognitions, and sexual risk behavior: Testing a meditational model. Developmental Psychology, 47, 592-602.