The level of strong language in popular teen novels is substantially higher than that found in videogames, a study has found.

Teen novels contained twice the amount of swearing found in videogames, according to work by Brigham Young University social sciences professor Sarah Coyne.

Further, characters that swore were typically portrayed as wealthier, better looking, and more popular than those who didn’t.

Coyne examined profanity usage in 40 books from an adolescent bestseller list. She found that 35 of the 40 books (around 88 per cent) contained profanity, compared to 34 per cent in videogames.

On average, teen novels were found to contain almost seven instances of profanity per hour of reading.

Coyne was most concerned with the way that characters who used profanity vigorously were often portrayed in a superior light, and that teen books didn’t come with warnings about language indicators.

"Parents should talk with their children about the books they are reading," she said.