Welcome to the Teen Media Website

This five-year project was funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and is housed in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

We have examined the effects of a range of media on adolescents’ sexual health using innovative and comprehensive methods. First, we expanded on existing research looking at the effects of television on adolescent sexual behavior and included music, movies, magazines, Internet and newspapers. Next, we surveyed 3,261 North Carolina teens to find out what they watched, listened to and read, and how much time they spent with each kind of media. We conducted a content analysis of the most popular movies, television shows, music lyrics, magazines, newspapers and websites to measure the amount and kind of sexual content in each. Finally, we surveyed a random sample of 1,074 of the same teens to find out about their health behaviors.

Our first round of research was conducted in 2001 and 2002, when teens were in 7th and 8th grade. A second wave of the health survey was conducted in 2003-2004. Here is a diagram of our Data Collection Protocol We also conducted a survey of parents of teens to see what they thought about their teens’ behaviors. Families who participated in the Teen Media study were sent a brochure summarizing the study in July 2005. Here is the Parent Brochure.

Please click on the links above to see copies of our publications, information for the press, related links, and contact information.