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The results also showed that talk about sex on TV had virtually the same effect on teen behavior as depictions of sexual activity.

This finding runs counter to the widespread belief that portrayals of action have a more powerful impact than talk.

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The other study examined television’s potential as a tool for educating teens about sexual risks and safe behavior.

Funded by the Kaiser Family Foundation, it examined the effect on teenage viewers of a particular episode of a popular sitcom () that dealt with condom efficacy.

To gauge the episode’s impact, RAND used information from its earlier study to identify adolescents who watch The study did not find dramatic changes in teens’ sexual knowledge or belief.

However, it looked at only a single episode of television, and one that included the somewhat complicated message that condoms almost always work, but sometimes fail, and with huge consequences.

Thus, early initiation of intercourse is an important public health issue.

It is widely believed that TV plays a role in hastening the initiation of sexual activity in teens.

In effect, youths who watched the most sexual content “acted older”: a 12-year-old at the highest levels of exposure behaved like a 14- or 15-year-old at the lowest levels.

The study also identified other factors that increased the likelihood that teens would initiate intercourse, including being older, having older friends, getting lower grades, engaging in rule-breaking such as skipping class, and sensationseeking.

The first RAND study, funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, examined this issue.

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