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Teen Pregnancies Tied to Watching Sexy TV Shows

by The Kid's Doctor Staff

A new study released suggests that pregnancy rates are much higher among teens who watch a lot of television with sexual dialogue and behavior than among teenagers who watch less mature television shows.

The study, published in the November 2008 issue of Pediatrics is the first to link viewing habits with teen pregnancy said lead author Anita Chandra, a Rand Corp. behavioral scientist. The study found that teens that watched the raciest shows were twice as likely to become pregnant over the next three years as those who watched few such programs.

Earlier research by some of the same scientists involved in the current study found that watching lots of sex on television can influence teens to have sex at earlier ages. Shows that highlight only the positive aspects of sexual behavior without the risks can lead teens to have unprotected sex “before they’re ready to make responsible and informed decisions,” said Chandra.

The study, which involved over 2,000 teens, asked the participants how often they watched more than 20 popular TV shows which were found to have lots of sexual content. Those programs included Sex and the City, That 70’s Show, and Friends. Pregnancies were twice as common among those who said they watched such shows regularly than those teens that said they hardly ever saw them.

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