The mass media and American adolescents' health

J Adolesc Health. 2002 Dec;31(6 Suppl):153-70. doi: 10.1016/s1054-139x(02)00507-4.


American teens today grow up in a world saturated with the mass media. In general, the media depict a world in which unhealthy behaviors such as physical aggression, unprotected sex, smoking, and drinking are glamorous and risk-free. We summarize what is known about the media's effects on four adolescent health issues that have been studied most comprehensively: violence and aggression; sex; obesity, nutrition, and eating disorders; and alcohol and tobacco use. A number of approaches that have potential for helping turn the media into more positive forces for adolescents' health are discussed

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior / psychology*
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Health Behavior*
  • Health Promotion
  • Health Status Indicators
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mass Media / standards*
  • Mass Media / statistics & numerical data
  • Obesity / epidemiology
  • Risk-Taking
  • Sexual Behavior / statistics & numerical data
  • Smoking / epidemiology
  • Social Marketing
  • Substance-Related Disorders / epidemiology
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Violence / statistics & numerical data