- The dual role of media internalization in adolescent sexual behavior
- Archives of Sexual Behavior
- Volume | Issue number
- 46 | 6
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam School of Communication Research (ASCoR)
Sexualizing media content is prevalent in various media types. Sexualizing media messages and portrayals emphasize unattainable body and appearance ideals as the primary components of sexual desirability. The internalization of these ideals is positively related to self-objectification and sexual body consciousness. In turn, self-objectification and sexual body consciousness affect adolescents’ sexual behavior, albeit in opposing directions. While objectifying self-perceptions are linked to higher levels of sexual behavior, body consciousness during physical intimacy is linked to lower levels of sexual behavior. Based on this knowledge, the present three-wave panel study of 824 Belgian, predominant heterosexual adolescents (Mage = 15.33; SD = 1.45) proposes a dual-pathway model that investigates two different pathways through which the internalization of media ideals may impact adolescents’ sexual behavior. An inhibitory pathway links media internalization to lower levels of sexual behavior through sexual body consciousness, and a supportive pathway links media internalization to higher levels of sexual behavior through self-objectification. Structural equation analyses supported the proposed dual-pathway, showing that the impact of media internalization on adolescents’ sexual behavior proceeds through an inhibitory pathway and a supportive pathway. Regarding the supportive pathway, media internalization (W1) positively predicted sexual behavior (W3), through valuing appearance over competence (W2). Regarding the inhibitory pathway, media internalization (W1) positively predicted body surveillance, which, in turn, positively predicted sexual body consciousness (all W2). Sexual body consciousness (W2) is negatively related to sexual behavior (W3). From a sexual developmental perspective, these findings emphasize the importance of guiding adolescents in interpreting and processing sexualizing media messages.
- go to publisher's site
If you believe that digital publication of certain material infringes any of your rights or (privacy) interests, please let the Library know, stating your reasons. In case of a legitimate complaint, the Library will make the material inaccessible and/or remove it from the website. Please Ask the Library, or send a letter to: Library of the University of Amsterdam, Secretariat, Singel 425, 1012 WP Amsterdam, The Netherlands. You will be contacted as soon as possible.