Television and Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health: Results from a Randomized Experiment in Vietnam
Rukmalie Jayakody, Pennsylvania State University
Television is hypothesized to significantly impact adolescent’s knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors. Some argue that television serves as a sexual super-peer providing information and models about sexuality. New ideas about opposite sex relationships and the social models of adolescents on television may have important implications for adolescent sexuality. Particularly in cultures where there is a reticence about discussing sexual values and behaviors, television can become the most accessible and compelling source of sexual information. We use data from a unique randomized experiment conducted in remote areas of Vietnam to assess the causal impacts of television. 16 non-electrified villages were randomly assigned to treatment and control status, and treatment villages received televisions and generators and related equipment to operate them. We use ethnographic, semi-structured, and focus group data to better understand adolescents’ expectations from television and how television influences their sexual and reproductive health knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors.