MTV's teen mom series results in pregnancy reduction, study finds

Three MTV series that chronicle the tough and sometimes troubled lives of teen moms contributed to a 5.7 percent reduction in teen births, or one-third the total decline, according to a new study.

The study by researchers from the University of Maryland and Wellesley College also found that Internet searches and tweets about birth control and abortion spike when "16 and Pregnant," "Teen Mom" and "Teen Mom 2" air.

The reductions occcured between June 2009, when the first show aired, and the end of 2010.

The researchers, UM economist Melissa Schettini Kearney and Wellesley College economist Phillip B. Levine, analyzed Neilsen ratings data and metrics from Google and Twitter.

Abortion rates also fell during the time period, suggesting the shows' impact attributed more to the teen pregnancy decline than abortions. However, researchers didn't do a separate analysis on abortions.

The authors said the show seemed to draw teens at risk of getting pregnant and influenced them to change their behavior.

The fact that MTV knows how make shows that teens like to watch, which speak to them in ways that resonate, presumably is critical to the shows' impact," the researchers said in a statement.


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