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Close Relationship with Mom Affects Teen Sexual Attitudes

Teen boys who watch a lot of TV and also have a close relationship with their mother are more susceptible to harmful stereotypical views of women and sex, but for girls, a strong attachment to mom acts as a buffer against television's negative effect on sexual views.

Previous studies have shown that mothers play a role in children's opinions regarding mainstream sexual attitudes and sexual responsibility. Researchers from the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium set out to determine whether a close relationship with mom can protect teens from the negative effects that TV has on sexual attitudes.

The researchers found that, on average, the teenagers watched more than 23 hours of TV a week, or more than three hours a day. And the more TV they watched — especially the boys — the more likely they were to support casual sex, agreeing with statements, such as, "It's OK to have ongoing sexual relationships with more than one person at a time." The TV-watchers were also more likely than those who watched less TV to agree with gender stereotypes, such as, "Males are sexually dominant."

Teen girls who were more securely attached to their mothers appeared to be less susceptible to TV's influence on sexual attitudes. However, a close relationship with their mothers did not have the same positive effect on the teen boys: those who were more securely attached to their mothers were actually more susceptible to the negative influence of TV-viewing on attitudes toward casual sex and gender role stereotypes.

Overall, among teens who didn't watch as much TV, maternal attachment was shown to have a positive influence on their sexual attitudes. For these teens, the more attached an adolescent was to his or her mother, the less they agreed with statements about stereotypical gender roles and casual sex.

Source: Live Science