Adolescent Health and Risk Communication Institute

The Adolescent Health and Risk Communication Institute was established as part of the Annenberg Public Policy Center in January 2002 with a grant from the Annenberg Foundation. Originally called the Adolescent Risk Communication Institute, the program’s name was changed in 2015 to denote the inclusion of health as well as risk variables. The Institute’s mission is to promote healthy youth development by educating the public, scholarly community and policy-makers about the latest scientific advances in reducing risks to adolescent health. It does so by convening conferences of experts, conducting national surveys and performing externally funded research. The findings of these projects are communicated to both scholars and the public through books, scientific reports and on the Internet.

Counteracting the Influence of Peer Smoking on YouTube

YouTube, a popular online site for user-generated content, is emerging as a powerful source of peer modeling of smoking. Although exposure to adolescent YouTube smokers increased perceived prevalence among some participants, it simultaneously increased beliefs about smoking’s adverse health outcomes and negative attitudes toward smoking, effects that were associated with reductions in injunctive norms of social acceptability. Interventions that communicate the severity and scope of health risks associated with smoking may undercut the descriptive normative effects of peer modeling of smoking on social media sites such as YouTube.

Alcohol, Sex, and Screens: Modeling Media Influence on Adolescent Alcohol and Sex Co-Occurrence

Results suggest that for both White and Black adolescents, exposure to media portrayals of alcohol and sex combinations is positively associated with adolescents’ attitudes and norms. These relationships were stronger among White adolescents. Intention was predicted by attitude, norms, and control, but only the attitude–intention relationship was different by race group (stronger for Whites).

The Continuing Rise of Gun Violence in PG-13 Movies, 1985 to 2015

The Motion Picture Association of America created the parental guidance for children under age 13 years (PG-13) movie rating in 1984 to “strongly” caution parents about content that may not be suited for children of that age. According to that industry-supported group, “There may be depictions of violence in a PG-13 movie, but generally not both realistic and extreme or persistent violence.”