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Exposure to Sexual Lyrics and Sexual Experience Among Urban Adolescents

Primack, BA and Douglas, EL and Fine, MJ and Dalton, MA (2009) Exposure to Sexual Lyrics and Sexual Experience Among Urban Adolescents. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 36 (4). 317 - 323. ISSN 0749-3797

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Background: Two thirds of all sexual references in music are degrading in nature, yet it remains uncertain whether these references promote earlier sexual activity. The purpose of this study was to determine if exposure to lyrics describing degrading sex in popular music is independently associated with sexual behavior in a cohort of urban adolescents. Methods: All ninth-grade health students at three large urban high schools completed in-school surveys in 2006 and 2007. Participants' exposure to lyrics describing degrading sex was computed with overall music exposure and content analyses of their favorite artists' songs. Outcomes included sexual intercourse and progression along a noncoital sexual continuum. Multivariable regression was used to assess independent associations between exposure to lyrics describing degrading sex and outcomes. Results: The 711 participants were exposed to 14.7 hours each week of songs with lyrics describing degrading sex (SD=17.0). Almost one third of participants (n=216) had previously been sexually active. Compared to those with the least exposure to lyrics describing degrading sex, those with the most exposure were more than twice as likely to have had sexual intercourse (OR=2.07; 95% CI=1.26, 3.41), even after adjusting for all covariates. Similarly, among those who had not had sexual intercourse, those in the highest tertile of exposure to lyrics describing degrading sex were nearly twice as likely to have progressed along a noncoital sexual continuum (OR=1.88; 95% CI=1.23, 2.88) compared to those in the lowest tertile. Finally, the relationships between exposure to lyrics describing nondegrading sex and sexual outcomes were not significant. Conclusions: This study supports an association between exposure to lyrics describing degrading sex in popular music and early sexual experience among adolescents. © 2009 American Journal of Preventive Medicine.


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Item Type: Article
Status: Published
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Primack, BAbprimack@pitt.eduBPRIMACK
Douglas, EL
Fine, MJmjf1@pitt.eduMJF10000-0003-3470-9846
Dalton, MA
Centers: Other Centers, Institutes, Offices, or Units > Center for Research on Media, Technology, and Health
Date: 1 April 2009
Date Type: Publication
Journal or Publication Title: American Journal of Preventive Medicine
Volume: 36
Number: 4
Page Range: 317 - 323
DOI or Unique Handle: 10.1016/j.amepre.2008.11.011
Schools and Programs: School of Medicine > Medicine
School of Medicine > Pediatrics
Refereed: Yes
ISSN: 0749-3797
MeSH Headings: Adolescent; Adolescent Behavior--psychology; Cohort Studies; Cross-Sectional Studies; Environmental Exposure--statistics & numerical data; Female; Humans; Male; Music--psychology; Pennsylvania--epidemiology; Sexual Behavior--statistics & numerical data; Social Environment; Urban Population--statistics & numerical data
Other ID: NLM NIHMS256342, NLM PMC3008595
PubMed Central ID: PMC3008595
PubMed ID: 19285196
Date Deposited: 28 Jul 2014 17:51
Last Modified: 01 Nov 2021 10:55


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