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*Note* This scheduling program was not designed by folks who do a lot with APA Style and unfortunately it defaults to listing authors in alphabetical order. We cannot fix this for this online schedule, but the author orders are posted in the order submitted in the printed program available via pdf here.
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Sunday, March 8 • 8:30am - 9:45am
Young Pregnant and Fabulous? Teen Mom / 16 and Pregnant and Viewers Perceptions of Teen Pregnancy

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Although teen pregnancy rates in the United States have been on the decline since 1991 (Ventura, Hamilton, Mathews, 2014), more than 750,000 teens find out that they are pregnant each year (Guttmacher Institute, 2010). Recently, research has focused on whether the media can be used as a means of reducing teen pregnancy (Moyer-Guse, 2008), and significant attention has been focused on MTV’s reality shows Teen Mom / 16 and Pregnant, which have become cultural phenomena among adolescents and adults. Studies assessing the impact of viewing Teen Mom/ 16 and Pregnant on viewer’s attitudes and behaviors surrounding teen pregnancy have found mixed results (Aubrey et al., 2014; Martins & Jensen, 2014; Suellentrop, Brown, & Oritz, 2010; Wright et al., 2013), with some research suggesting the shows promote teen pregnancy by making it seem as though teen moms have an enviable quality of life (Martin & Jensen, 2014) while other studies indicate the shows discourage teen pregnancy (Aubrey et al., 2014). The current study expands on this initial research by utilizing a mixed methodological design to assess college women’s (N=372) perceptions of whether or not Teen Mom / 16 and Pregnant encourages teen pregnancy. Preliminary results indicated that of participants who watched some or all episodes of Teen Mom / 16 and Pregnant, viewers who perceived the show as offensive were also more likely to believe the show encouraged teen pregnancy (r = .178, p = .016). Participants were asked a subsequent open-ended question to explain why the show does or does not accurately portray relationships. Content analyses are currently underway to examine these responses. Implications of findings for future research, as well as media literacy and teen pregnancy prevention efforts will be discussed. If our study is not accepted as a paper, we ask that it be considered for a poster.


Sunday March 8, 2015 8:30am - 9:45am
Gold Rush A