Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Foul-mouthed characters in teen books have it all

Date:
May 18, 2012
Source:
Brigham Young University
Summary:
Analysis of best-selling teen novels shows that readers come across seven instances of profanity per hour spent reading, and the characters who cuss are usually rich, beautiful and popular.

Bestselling authors of teen literature portray their more foul-mouthed characters as rich, attractive and popular, a new study finds.

Brigham Young University professor Sarah Coyne analyzed the use of profanity in 40 books on an adolescent bestsellers list. On average, teen novels contain 38 instances of profanity between the covers. That translates to almost seven instances of profanity per hour spent reading.

Coyne was intrigued not just by how much swearing happens in teen lit, but who was swearing: Those with higher social status, better looks and more money.

"From a social learning standpoint, this is really important because adolescents are more likely to imitate media characters portrayed in positive, desirable ways," Coyne said. Coyne's study will be published May 18 in the journal Mass Communication and Society.

While profanity in TV and movies has been studied extensively, this research is the first to examine it in the realm of books aimed at teens. Thirty-five of the 40 books -- or 88 percent -- contained at least one instance of profanity (one of them contained nearly 500). That's a far higher rate than what's found in video games rated T (Teen), of which only 34 percent contain profanity. In a way, that's comparing apples to oranges because books contain more words -also known as "opportunities to swear" in the academic literature.

The "darkness" in current teen fiction was recently debated on the opinion pages of the Wall Street Journal. And the medical journal Pediatrics published research by Coyne in October that found a link between profanity in media and teen aggression.

"Unlike almost every other type of media, there are no content warnings or any indication if there is extremely high levels of profanity in adolescent novels," Coyne said. "Parents should talk with their children about the books they are reading."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Brigham Young University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Sarah M. Coyne, Mark Callister, Laura A. Stockdale, David A. Nelson, Brian M. Wells. “A Helluva Read”: Profanity in Adolescent Literature. Mass Communication and Society, 2012; 15 (3): 360 DOI: 10.1080/15205436.2011.638431

Cite This Page:

Brigham Young University. "Foul-mouthed characters in teen books have it all." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 May 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120518081149.htm>.
Brigham Young University. (2012, May 18). Foul-mouthed characters in teen books have it all. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120518081149.htm
Brigham Young University. "Foul-mouthed characters in teen books have it all." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120518081149.htm (accessed April 23, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Study Says Most Crime Not Linked To Mental Illness

Study Says Most Crime Not Linked To Mental Illness

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) A new study finds most crimes committed by people with mental illness are not caused by symptoms of their illness or disorder. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Smaller Plates And Cutlery Could Make You Feel Fuller

How Smaller Plates And Cutlery Could Make You Feel Fuller

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) NBC's "Today" conducted an experiment to see if changing the size of plates and utensils affects the amount individuals eat. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Do We Get Nicer With Age?

Do We Get Nicer With Age?

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) A recent report claims personality can change over time as we age, and usually that means becoming nicer and more emotionally stable. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How to Master Motherhood With the Best Work/Life Balance

How to Master Motherhood With the Best Work/Life Balance

TheStreet (Apr. 22, 2014) In the U.S., there are more than 11 million couples trying to conceive at any given time. From helping celebrity moms like Bethanny Frankel to ordinary soon-to-be-moms, TV personality and parenting expert, Rosie Pope, gives you the inside scoop on mastering motherhood. London-born entrepreneur Pope is the creative force behind Rosie Pope Maternity and MomPrep. She explains why being an entrepreneur offers the best life balance for her and tips for all types of moms. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins