Reality television shows featuring teen pregnancy may be used as media literacy education tools to positively affect youth sexual health outcomes. Concerns, however, exist that such programming may glamorize teen pregnancy. The present study examined how viewing and discussing episodes of MTV’s 16 and Pregnant, a reality television series about teen pregnancy, may impact adolescents at high risk for teen pregnancy (N =162; M=13.5 years). Adolescents indicated that they enjoyed viewing and discussing the episodes and saw the program as realistic but did not perceive the lives of the characters as desirable. Many also reported that they talked with someone afterward about what they had seen. Findings provide preliminary evidence that reality television shows focused on the potential outcomes of sexual behavior may be a useful way to engage adolescents in conversations about sexual health.
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Scull, T. M., Ortiz, R., Shafer, A., Brown, J., Kupersmidt, J. B., & Suellentrop, K. (2015). Investigating How MTV’s 16 & Pregnant May Be Used as Media Literacy Education with High-Risk Adolescents. Journal of Media Literacy Education, 7(2), 1-11. https://doi.org/10.23860/jmle-7-2-1