“A Helluva Read”: Profanity in Adolescent Literature
Adolescence, Literature, Language, Profanity in literature
Although the use of profanity has been examined in a number of types of media, to our knowledge profanity has not been examined in adolescent literature. Thus, the frequency and portrayal of profanity was coded in 40 bestselling adolescent novels. Results revealed that some novels did not contain a single instance of profanity, whereas others contained hundreds of often very strong profanity. When profanity was used, characters were likely to be young, rich, attractive, and of pronounced social status. Novels directed at older adolescents contained much more profanity. However, age guidance or content warnings are not found on the books themselves. Discussion is provided regarding the implications of the findings and the appropriateness of including content warnings in adolescent literature.
Original Publication Citation
Coyne, S. M., Callister, M., *Stockdale, L., Nelson, D. A., & *Wells, B. M. (2012). “A Helluva Read”: Profanity in Adolescent Literature. Mass Communication & Society, 15, 360-383.
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Coyne, Sarah; Callister, Mark; Stockdale, Laura Ann; Neslon, David A.; and Wells, Brian M., "“A Helluva Read”: Profanity in Adolescent Literature" (2012). All Faculty Publications. 2338.
Mass Communication and Society
Family, Home, and Social Sciences
Copyright # Mass Communication & Society Division