Adolescents' Use of Sexually Explicit Internet Material and Sexual Uncertainty: The Role of Involvement and Gender (2010)

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DOI:10.1080/03637751.2010.498791

Jochen Peter* & Patti M. Valkenburg

pages 357-375

Published online: 22 Sep 2010

Abstract

Research has shown that adolescents' use of sexually explicit Internet material (SEIM) is positively associated with an important characteristic of the developing sexual self, sexual uncertainty. However, the causal relation between SEIM use and sexual uncertainty is unclear. Moreover, we do not know which processes underlie this relation and whether gender moderates these processes. Based on a three-wave panel survey among 956 Dutch adolescents, structural equation modeling revealed that more frequent SEIM use increased adolescents' sexual uncertainty. This influence was mediated by adolescents' involvement in SEIM. The impact of SEIM use on involvement was stronger for female than for male adolescents. Future research on the effects of SEIM may benefit from greater attention to experiential states during SEIM use.