Title

“A Helluva Read”: Profanity in Adolescent Literature

Keywords

Adolescence, Literature, Language, Profanity in literature

Abstract

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.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date

2012-05-04

Publisher

Mass Communication and Society

Language

English

College

Family, Home, and Social Sciences

Department

Family Life

University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor

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