- Adolescents’ exposure to sexually explicit internet material and sexual preoccupancy: a three-wave panel study
- Media Psychology
- Volume | Issue number
- 11 | 2
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam School of Communication Research (ASCoR)
The main aim of this study was to investigate whether adolescents' use of sexually explicit Internet material (SEIM) increased their sexual preoccupancy (i.e., a strong cognitive engagement in sexual issues). Further, we wanted to know (a) whether subjective sexual arousal mediated a potential influence of exposure to SEIM on sexual preoccupancy and (b) whether this process differed between male and female adolescents. Over the course of one year, we surveyed 962 Dutch adolescents aged 13-20 years three times. Structural equation modeling showed that exposure to SEIM stimulated sexual preoccupancy. This influence was fully mediated by subjective sexual arousal from SEIM. The effect of exposure to SEIM on subjective sexual arousal did not differ between male and female adolescents. The findings suggest that a sexualized media environment may affect adolescents' sexual development beyond traditionally studied variables, such as sexual attitudes and sexual behavior.
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