Publication details

Exposure to Sexually Explicit Materials and Feelings after Exposure among Adolescents in Nine European Countries : The Role of Individual Factors and Social Characteristics



Year of publication 2023
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Archives of Sexual Behavior
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Social Studies

Keywords Adolescents; Sexually explicit material; Parental mediation; Cross-national sampling
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Description Research on adolescents’ sexual exposure has mostly focused on negcative outcomes using a risk-based lens, and there is little work on the factors that may predict exposure, as well as youths’ emotional responses to sexual content. Using a cross-national sample, the present study examined the associations of individual (sensation seeking and emotional problems) and social characteristics (the quality of family environment, including active and restrictive parental mediation) with adolescents’ exposure to sexually explicit materials and their feelings after exposure. The survey included 8,820 11- to 16-year-olds (Mage?=?13.36 years, SD?=?1.62, 48.0% male) from nine European countries (Czech Republic, Finland, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Spain, Switzerland). The results revealed that although there were differences in the prevalence of youths’ sexual exposure by country, there were also similarities in the characteristics underlying exposure and subsequent feelings across different country contexts. No significant relationship was found between active parental mediation and exposure in most countries, and the findings regarding restrictive parental mediation were mixed. Although the majority of the participants reported neutral feelings, there were gender differences in feeling happy and upset after exposure. Overall, the results suggest that exposure may not be as distressing to youth as prevalent risk-focused narratives have suggested.
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