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Adolescents' Communication Styles for Learning About Birth Control from Mass Media

Health Education & Behavior
SAGE Publications
Publication Date
  • Communication
  • Mathematics


This article is an exploratory study to identify discrete factors which predict the way in which adolescents are likely to communicate about birth control after receiving information from a mass medium is described. First, we discuss styles of interacting with others regarding information from mass media which have been described in previous research. Five styles are identified: media-oriented, peer-oriented, home-oriented, professionally-oriented, and multi-source oriented. Next, we discuss categories of factors which theoretically should distinguish among the five communication styles. These factors are drawn from theories and previous research in communication and social learning. Using data collected from a random sample of 100 adolescents, we then test the predictive ability of categories of factors. Discriminant analysis is used to determine which factors within categories are most predictive of style and which best discriminate between styles. Eight factors are identified which predict 75% of all communication styles. The factors are sex, race, giving advice about sex, seeking information about birth control, dating rules regarding where one can go, dating rules regarding behavior on dates, feelings of pride, and feelings of popularity. Finally, we discuss the significance for practitioners of study findings and of predicting adolescents' communication styles.

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