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Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Does Religion Affect Teens' MySpace Profiles?

More than half of teenagers—54 percent—mention high-risk behaviors on their MySpace pages, according to a new study from the Seattle Children's Research Institute that appears in the January issue of the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine. Researchers, led by Dr. Megan Moreno (now at the University of Wisconsin-Madison) and Dr. Dimitri Christakis, looked at 500 randomly chosen profiles written by 18-year-olds and found that 41 percent referenced substance abuse, 24 percent referenced sexual behavior, and 14 referenced violence. Yet, the study also found that profiles that mentioned church or religious involvement—as well as profiles that indicated participation in sports or hobbies–were less likely than the others to mention the risky behaviors. —Heather Wax