Media, Youth, and Healthy Relationships Research

Dr. Rodgers’ research explores factors within the individual, family, and non-family environments related to adolescent health and sexual risk behaviors. Current research with Dr. Stacy Hust¬†(College of Communication) has two related tracks. One focuses on media as a cultural context that can influence adolescent and emerging adults’ sense of self, understanding of romantic relationships, and understanding of media messages that inform sexual identity, sexual scripts, and the negotiation of wanted and unwanted sexual behaviors. Current dyadic analyses of parent-adolescent communication about romantic relationships and dating violence will identify factors and strategies that best facilitate communication between parents and teens about healthy and unhealthy relationships. Other quantitative and qualitative research focus on identifying the role of sexual scripts, norms, and other contextual factors related to consent negotiation and sexual dating violence among teens and ¬†young adults.

Current research projects include:

Sexual Scripts in Music Media: How do parents and teens talk about violence and sex in music media?

Our research team is currently conducting dyadic analyses on data from 50 parent-teen dyads who discussed issues related to dating, romantic relationships, and violence in relationships, prompted by music-media clips. The research will reveal ways that parents and teens negotiate difficult conversations about healthy and unhealthy relationships in an effort to identify factors and strategies that best facilitate communication between parents and teens about romantic relationships and dating violence.

Making Sense of Mediated Sexual Scripts and Adolescents’ Romantic Relationships

Our research team is currently analyzing qualitative data from focus groups with over 100 high school and young college students and 18 in-depth interviews with teens and emerging adults. These rich data are beginning to reveal how adolescents and young adults make sense of sexual scripts in media and identify ways in which these sexual scripts influence their behavior in romantic and sexual relationships.