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WSU to research parent-teen talk about sex, violence in videos

PULLMAN, Wash. – Two Washington State University researchers have received a $10,000 innovation grant from the National Council on Family Relations (NCFR) to investigate how parents talk with their teens about violent and sexual content in popular music videos.

Stacey J.T. Hust, of The Edward R. Murrow College of Communication, and Dr. Kathleen Boyce Rodgers, Human Development at Washington State University will conduct a research project entitled “Sexual scripts in music media: How do parents and teens talk about violence and sex in music media?”

Hust (l) and Rodgers
Hust (l) and Rodgers

The research will draw on the observation of 50 parents and their teens as they talk about music videos. The results will inform the development of a research-based parenting program that uses media to foster parent-teen dialogue about romantic relationships and dating violence, to prevent teen dating violence and promote healthy relationships.

“Our research has demonstrated that young people today look to mass media, at least in part, to develop their sexual beliefs and attitudes,” said Hust, co-investigator on the study and associate professor. “Too often this medium presents relationships between men and women as a game.  In these relationships women seduce through their physical appearance and the masculinity of men is defined through sexual conquest.”

“Parents also model sexual beliefs and attitudes for their children,” said Rodgers, co-investigator on the study and associate professor, “and the media provide an opportunity for parents to talk with their teens about sex and violence. Our work will help parents help their teens make better sense of what they see and hear.”

Hust and Rodgers’ work demonstrates music media includes sexual and violent imagery that is often shown simultaneously.  A growing body of research demonstrates a relationship between young peoples’ exposure to violent or sexualized media and their attitudes about violence in dating.

The NCFR grant is only one of only two funded each year. NCFR has a membership of more than 3,300 family researchers, practitioners and educators.

For additional information on NCFR innovation grants, go here.

Media contacts:

Stacey Hust, The Edward R. Murrow College of Communication, 509-335-3696,

Kathleen Rodgers, WSU Dept. of Human Development, 509-335-2973,

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