Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 44, Issue 3, pp 743–754 | Cite as

Perceived Realism Moderates the Relation Between Sexualized Media Consumption and Permissive Sexual Attitudes in Dutch Adolescents

  • Laura BaamsEmail author
  • Geertjan Overbeek
  • Judith Semon Dubas
  • Suzan M. Doornwaard
  • Els Rommes
  • Marcel A. G. van Aken
Original Paper


This study examined whether the development of sexualized media consumption and permissive sexual attitudes would be more strongly interrelated when adolescents perceived sexualized media images as highly realistic. We used data from a three-wave longitudinal sample of 444 Dutch adolescents aged 13–16 years at baseline. Results from parallel process latent growth modeling multigroup analyses showed that higher initial levels of sexualized media consumption were associated with higher initial level of permissive sexual attitudes. Moreover, increases of sexualized media consumption over time were associated with increases of permissive sexual attitudes over time. Considering the moderation by perceived realism, we found these effects only for those who perceived sexualized media as more realistic. Findings for male and female adolescents were similar except for the relations between initial levels and subsequent development. Among male adolescents who perceived sexualized media images to be realistic, higher initial levels of permissive sexual attitudes were related to subsequent less rapid development of sexualized media consumption. For male adolescents who perceived sexualized media to be less realistic, higher initial levels of sexualized media consumption were related to a subsequent less rapid development of permissive sexual attitudes. These relations were not found for female adolescents. Overall, our results suggest that, in male and female adolescents, those with a high level of perceived realism showed a correlated development of sexualized media consumption and permissive sexual attitudes. These findings point to a need for extended information on how to guide adolescents in interpreting and handling sexualized media in everyday life.


Sexualized media consumption Permissive sexual attitudes Perceived realism Adolescents 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Laura Baams
    • 1
    Email author
  • Geertjan Overbeek
    • 2
  • Judith Semon Dubas
    • 1
  • Suzan M. Doornwaard
    • 3
  • Els Rommes
    • 4
  • Marcel A. G. van Aken
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Developmental PsychologyUtrecht UniversityUtrechtThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Child Development and EducationUniversity of AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Department of Interdisciplinary Social Science, Utrecht Center for Child and Adolescent StudiesUtrecht UniversityUtrechtThe Netherlands
  4. 4.Institute for Gender StudiesRadboud University NijmegenNijmegenThe Netherlands

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