Differential Developmental Profiles of Adolescents Using Sexually Explicit Internet Material (2014)

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J Sex Res. 2014 Mar 26.

Doornwaard SM1, van den Eijnden RJ, Overbeek G, Ter Bogt TF.


This study used a person-centered approach to examine whether different developmental trajectories of boys' and girls' use of sexually explicit Internet material (SEIM) exist, which factors predict these trajectories, and whether sexual behavior develops differently for adolescents in these trajectories. A combination of latent class growth analysis on SEIM use and latent growth curve analysis on sexual behavior was used on four-wave longitudinal data of 787 eighth through tenth grade Dutch adolescents. Among boys, four SEIM use trajectories were identified, which were labeled Nonuse/Infrequent Use, Strongly Increasing Use, Occasional Use, and Decreasing Use. Among girls, a large Stable Nonuse/Infrequent Use and smaller Strongly Increasing Use and Stable Occasional Use trajectories were distinguished.

Higher initial levels and/or stronger increases in SEIM use were predicted by demographic, social contextual, personal, and media use characteristics, including a stronger sexual interest, a higher degree of perceived realism regarding sexualized Internet content, and more permissive sexual attitudes. Moreover, initial levels of and, to some extent, developmental changes in sexual behavior varied for boys and girls in the different SEIM use trajectories. Whereas some adolescents showed concurrent low levels, or parallel strong increases in SEIM use and sexual behavior, a subgroup of boys decreased their SEIM use while increasing their sexual behavior.