Campus: CSU Fullerton -- November 02, 2001
Cal State Fullerton's studies: Research to Examine Television's
Influence on Teens
The impact of television on adolescents' sexual behavior
is the focus of a multiyear research effort funded by the National Institute
of Child Health and Human Development. Enid L. Gruber, assistant professor
of child and adolescent studies, is directing Cal State Fullerton's studies
on the subject.
"Our intent is to see whether kids 11-16 years of age are exposed
to sexual images or language in the television media and are in some way
impacted by that media," said Gruber, who received $182,777 in first-year
funding from the five-year grant of $927,571.
One facet of the research is a longitudinal survey of 1,000 adolescents
and their parents from Northern and Southern California. Participants
will be asked questions to determine how much adolescents are exposed
to sexual content via the media and how well parents supervise what their
children see. Beginning this fall, researchers also will analyze television
programming and the kinds of materials produced on network and cable.
"There has been a fair amount of research on kids' exposure to violence,"
said Gruber. "Past research has shown that kids' media exposure to
violence may cause them to model that behavior. "They see it and
try to mimic it and get a response." Any possible relevance that
research holds for the impact of television on adolescents' sexual behavior
is of interest to the research team.
Collaborating with Gruber are Joel Grube of the Prevention Research Center
in Berkeley and Deborah Fisher of the Pacific Institute for Research and
Gruber hopes to learn if and how much influence the media have on adolescent
intentions and actual sexual behavior. This knowledge, she believes, could
assist in determining whether interventions are indicated and lead to
their development to assist parents in supervising their children's media
Gruber joined the Cal State Fullerton faculty last year and holds a doctorate
in psychology from the University of Michigan. She is presently teaching
a course on adolescence and early adulthood, as well as a senior seminar
examining the at-risk adolescent.