London: Can teenagers' attachment to their mothers protect them from the negative impact of TV on their sexual attitudes?

It depends on their gender, according to a new study by Laura Vandenbosch and Steven Eggermont from Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in Belgium.

For girls, a good relationship with moms is protective. For boys, however, a strong attachment with mothers increases the likelihood that they will have stereotypical sexual attitudes, as portrayed on TV, the journal Sex Roles reports.

Vandenbosch and Eggermont surveyed 1,026 sixteen-year-olds from nine schools in Belgium.

They examined their recreational attitudes towards sex, according to a Katholieke statement.

For example, commitment to partner or views on casual sex, their attitudes towards traditional gender role norms, the amount of television they viewed over a week and their level of attachment to their mother.

On average, teenagers watched over 23 hours of TV a week, or more than three hours a day. Overall, boys and girls said they were rather satisfied with the relationship with their mothers.

Predictably, the higher the level of TV viewing, the more boys in particular endorsed a recreational sexual attitude and agreed with stereotypes concerning males' sexual
needs and dominance.

Maternal attachment acted as a buffer against the effects of TV viewing among girls, who appeared to be less susceptible to the negative influence of TV viewing on recreational attitudes towards sex and on attitudes towards male sexual obsession.

Conversely, if boys had a strong maternal attachment, they were more susceptible to the negative influence TV viewing had on these recreational attitudes towards sex and on attitudes towards male sexual obsession.
(Agencies)