Music videos and sexual risk in african american adolescent girls: Gender, power and the need for media literacy

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15 Scopus citations


Background: Music videos contain sexual content often reflecting women as promiscuous, submissive, or passive. Few studies have examined gender- and sex-related attitudes in African American females, particularly across genres of music videos. Purpose: Using constructs from Cultivation Theory, Theory of Gender and Power and Social Cognitive Theory, this study examined the association of music video viewing, gender roles, self-efficacy for condom use, and condom use among a sample of African American adolescent girls (N = 522). Methods: This study employed a cross-sectional design using baseline survey data collected through a larger study testing an HIV-risk reduction intervention. Results: Viewing frequency was highest for rap (97%) and R and B (80.4%) videos. Negative exposure in videos significantly predicted perceived personal influence and condom use self-efficacy. Girls who watched rap videos held less traditional attitudes toward women than those who watched rap and R and B combined. Discussion: An examination of music videos allows a broader evaluation of factors that may support sexual risk behavior. Further, R and B videos may contain images that romanticize male-female relationships and reinforce unhealthy gender roles. Translation to Health Education Practice: Research should examine media literacy approaches in combination with appropriate HIV prevention education to develop youth as informed, critical consumers of sex-related gendered content in various music video genres.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)93-103
Number of pages11
JournalAmerican Journal of Health Education
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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