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CHICAGO Teenagers who watch a lot of television with sexual content are twice as likely to have sex than those who watch few such programs, says a study published today.
It covered 1,792 kids 12 to 17 who were quizzed on viewing habits and sexual activity.
"This is the strongest evidence yet that the sexual content of television programs encourages adolescents to initiate sexual intercourse and other sexual activities," said psychologist Rebecca Collins, who headed the study.
"Even a moderate shift in the sexual content of adolescent TV-watching could have a substantial effect on their sexual behavior."
The study found that kids who watched large amounts of programming with sexual content were also more likely to initiate sexual activities short of intercourse.
It also found that shows where sex was talked about but not depicted had just as much impact as the more explicit programs.
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