Exposure to Sex on TV May Increase the Chance of Teen Pregnancy (2008)


This fact sheet provided by Rand Health provides information regarding teen pregnancy and exposure to sex on television.

  • Nearly 1 million American women ages 15-19 become pregnant each year. And a majority of these pregnancies are unplanned.
  • Rand conducted a survey to study the link between exposure to sex on TV and teen pregnancy. They found that “frequent exposure to TV sexual content was associated with a significantly greater likelihood of teen pregnancy in the following three years.”
  • From the results, researchers estimated that ” teens who are likely to become pregnant or be responsible for a pregnancy in their teen years is two times greater among those who view high levels of televised sexual content than those who view low levels.


  • This is the first study to demonstrate a link between TV and teen pregnancy.

These results have several practical implications:

  • TV industry leaders should examine how programming can include messages to teens about the consequences of sexual activity.
  • Media literacy instruction in middle and high schools can help teens think more critically about the relative absence of negative consequences of sex in TV portrayals and encourage thinking about alternative outcomes to those seen on TV.
  • Training for pediatricians should include intensified efforts to teach about the effects of media exposure on children’s health.
  • Parents need to monitor their teens’ TV viewing and provide education about the consequensces of sex. Tools that can help them review television content may be helpful.

To view the fact sheet: Exposure to Sex on TV may increase the Chance of Teen Pregnancy

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