The relationship between Nairobi adolescents’ media use and their sexual beliefs and attitudes
Adolescents in sub-Saharan Africa are at risk for contracting HIV. Although media campaigns have educated the population as a whole, few studies are available about the time sub-Saharan African youth spend listening to and viewing sexual messages via the entertainment and informational media. The goals of this project were: 1) to investigate what programming Nairobi adolescents access; and 2) to investigate the association between frequency of access and level of focus on physical relationships with adolescents’ perceptions of descriptive norms of peer sexual behaviour, and their attitudes regarding men as sex driven, women as sex objects, and dating as a sport. A total of 464 students from 6 Nairobi secondary schools were surveyed. When students’ favourite musicians had a strong focus on physical relationships in their songs, those students estimated the prevalence of risky sexual behaviours among their peers higher. These students also endorsed gender stereotypical and casual attitudes about sex. Large amounts of time spend on the Internet was predictive of all sexual attitude variables. Students whose favourite TV programmes had a strong focus on physical relationships also estimated prevalence of peer sexual behaviour as high.
Keywords: cultivation theory, descriptive norms, gender stereotypes, sexual attitudes, sexual media content