The Association Between Online Risk Behaviors and Real Life Sexual Behaviors Among African American Female Adolescents
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An increased exposure to the sexual content of traditional mass media (i.e., television, magazines, movies, music) affects real life sexual behaviors among adolescents. Engaging in online risk behaviors such as sharing/posting sexual content using social networking sites, cellphones, smartphones, IPads, or other new media devices has become common among adolescents. The purpose of this quantitative, correlation study, based upon the theory of reasoned action and three pre-existing national surveys, was to determine whether significant associations exist between attitudes, intentions, and behaviors related to online risk behaviors and real life sexual behaviors among African American female adolescents in Metro Atlanta. Data were collected from 111 African American female adolescents residing in the Metro Atlanta. Statistical analyses included the Pearson r correlation, phi coefficient correlation, and logistic regression tests. According to study results, there were no significant relationships between attitudes and behaviors concerning online risk behaviors and real life sexual behaviors, age and attitudes of online risk behaviors, or relationship status and online risk behaviors. However, a significant relationship was found between age and engaging in online risk behavior. The positive social change implications include further insight for those working in the area of adolescent sexual health prevention and promotion. The findings can be used to better understand the impact of online risk behaviors on adolescent sexual health and how new media platforms can be effectively used to tailor prevention programs and campaigns.