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X-rated material and perpetration of sexually aggressive behavior among children and adolescents: is there a link?



Longitudinal linkages between intentional exposure to x-rated material and sexually aggressive behavior were examined among youth 10–15 year olds surveyed nationally in the United States. At Wave 1 in 2006, participants (n = 1,588) were queried about these exposures and outcomes in the preceding 12 months. Wave 2 data (n = 1,206) were collected approximately 12 months after Wave 1 and Wave 3 data (n = 1,159) were collected approximately 24 months after Wave 1. Thus, data for this project represent a 36-month time frame. A marginal model with generalized estimating equations was used to represent the population-average odds of sexually aggressive behavior over the 36 months as a function of exposure to x-rated material over the same time and to account for clustering in the data within person over time. An average of 5% of youth reported perpetrating sexually aggressive behavior and 23% of youth reported intentional exposure to x-rated material. After adjusting for other potentially influential proximal (i.e., sexual aggression victimization) and distal characteristics (e.g., substance use), we found that intentional exposure to violent x-rated material over time predicted an almost 6-fold increase in the odds of self-reported sexually aggressive behavior (aOR: 5.8, 95% CI: 3.2, 10.5), whereas exposure to nonviolent x-rated material was not statistically significantly related (aOR: 1.7, 95% CI: 0.94, 2.9). Associations were similar for boys and girls (boys nonviolent x-rated material aOR = 2.0, 95% CI: 0.8, 4.7; violent x-rated material aOR = 6.5, 95% CI: 2.7, 15.3; girls nonviolent x-rated material aOR = 1.2, 95% CI: 0.5, 3.2; violet x-rated material aOR = 6.1, 95% CI: 2.5, 14.8). Aggr. Behav. 37:1–18, 2011. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.