and teenage pregnancy among young women exposed to primal scenes might seem at
first glance to symbolize harm unequivocally, more careful evaluation renders these
findings somewhat ambiguous. In the case of increased cases of pregnancy among
these women, for example, it should be noted that over half of those who reported having
become pregnant (and nearly half of the guys who reported impregnating someone) rated
their experience as "good" rather than "awful." Although it's true that difficulties sometimes serious problems - may attend such pregnancies in U.S. society, some data
Additionally imply that these issues have been exaggerated (Furstenberg et al., 1987;
Stevens-Simon and White, 1991), and may frequently result more from low SES than from
Teenage pregnancy itself (Trussell, 1988). Current treatment of adolescent pregnancy as
intrinsically pathological may in part have generalized from an entire tendency to view
adolescent sexual behaviour as problematic (see Willis, 1986, for a sharply satirical
characterization of this tendency).
Even findings of increased cases of STD transmission among the girls in our study
need to be considered carefully. Symons (February 1995, personal communication)
pointed out that increased instances of STDs and pregnancy among women exposed to
primal scenes might be more parsimoniously comprehended as decreased use of condoms
among these girls. Regardless of debatable results, decreased use of condoms may
be inspired by heightened want (and capacity) for affair or higher levels of trust in
partners - together with by simple lack of sexual responsibility or self-destructive tendencies.
In this respect it should be remembered that there was a (nonsignificant) trend toward higher
Degrees of self acceptance and improved relationships with adults among these women.
Course of favorable correlates for boys, and impersonal or debatable correlates for girls.
These interactions may be interpreted in several means.
that human males and females process sexuality-related occasions otherwise as the result of
sexually dimorphic emotional mechanisms that have evolved through natural and
sexual selection (cf. Symons, 1979; Buss, 1994). Empirical evidence is consistent with
the view of dimorphism in psychological mechanisms (cf. Buss, 1994; Ellis and
Symons, 1990). Moore (1995) has proposed the possibility that these mechanisms might
begin to emerge reliably in youth. Some evidence is also consistent with this
Other explanations of the sex interactions are also possible. By way of example, lads and
girls are socialized differently throughout the world where sexuality is concerned, with
girls being socialized more restrictively (Mead, 1967). Although these socialization
procedures may also represent expressions of sexually dimorphic emotional
adaptation by natural and sexual selection, it could be asserted that they instead represent
temporally particular but worldwide sociocultural or socioeconomic forces related to
A third explanation of our results is more prosaic.
Wholly artifactual statistical noise. Truly, the effect sizes are modest, and although
interactions by sex in the exact same general course were noted for a number of the consequence
measures, just one of these interactions reached significance after the Bonferonni
correction, and one of them was turned in course - with women, but not men,
exposed to primal scenes reporting less use of particular drugs.
Additionally, while findings of advantageous outcomes are interesting, specific findings are
not predicted by any theory that we understand. So, one is possibly left with what may turn
out to be nonreplicable advantageous correlates of the predictors. As Scarr et al. (1990)
Detected, nonreplicable results is the typical fate for long-term regression studies,
particularly when proximate, rather than distal, predictors are being examined. In our
view, then, the significance of the current investigation, aside from the suggestion of
Damage - findings that converge on all of the available empirical data. True, any one
set of negative outcomes isn't particularly instructive. However, given virtually no
Signs in this or any other empirical study the behaviors analyzed in the current
study are unambiguously harmful, the intriguing question becomes: Why is it so extensively
believed in the United States and certain European nations that these practices are
uniformly detrimental to the mental health of kids?
professional and public opinion.) Such notions, surely where exposure to parental
nudity is concerned, are possibly better conceptualized as myths.