Sexting Among Young Adults

Prevention Research Center of Michigan, University of Michigan School of Public Health, Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Journal of Adolescent Health (Impact Factor: 3.61). 07/2012; 52(3). DOI: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2012.05.013
Source: PubMed


Sexting has stirred debate over its legality and safety, but few researchers have documented the relationship between sexting and health. We describe the sexting behavior of young adults in the United States, and examine its association with sexual behavior and psychological well-being.

Using an adapted Web version of respondent-driven sampling, we recruited a sample of U.S. young adults (aged 18-24 years, N = 3,447). We examined participant sexting behavior using four categories of sexting: (1) nonsexters, (2) receivers, (3) senders, and (4) two-way sexters. We then assessed the relationships between sexting categories and sociodemographic characteristics, sexual behavior, and psychological well-being.

More than half (57%) of the respondents were nonsexters, 28.2% were two-way sexters, 12.6% were receivers, and 2% were senders. Male respondents were more likely to be receivers than their female counterparts. Sexually active respondents were more likely to be two-way sexters than non-sexually active ones. Among participants who were sexually active in the past 30 days, we found no differences across sexting groups in the number of sexual partners or the number of unprotected sex partners in the past 30 days. We also found no relationship between sexting and psychological well-being.

Our results suggest that sexting is not related to sexual risk behavior or psychological well-being. We discuss the findings of this study and propose directions for further research on sexting.

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Available from: Jose Arturo Bauermeister,
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    • "Brandtzaeg et al., 2009; Gordon-Messer, Bauermeister, Grodzinski, & Zimmerman, 2012). Young people seem using ICTs in a risky way without being aware of the dangers, and they become vulnerable to various online threats such as cyber bullying, sexting, pornography or identity theft as perpetrators and victims (Brandtzaeg et al., 2009; Gordon-Messer, et al., 2012; Sabina, Wolak, & Finkelhor, 2008). "
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    01/2015; 12(1):1230. DOI:10.14687/ijhs.v12i1.3131
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    • "This would suggest that sharing or posting sexual pictures is perhaps more reflective of typical sexual expression in romantic relationships among adolescents. Studies of young adults also are conflicting: some have found sexting is associated with risky sexual behavior [5], whereas others have not [6] [7]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Purpose: To examine the relation between "sexting" (sending and sharing sexual photos online, via text messaging, and in person) with sexual risk behaviors and psychosocial challenge in adolescence. Methods: Data were collected online between 2010 and 2011 with 3,715 randomly selected 13- to 18-year-old youth across the United States. Results: Seven percent of youth reported sending or showing someone sexual pictures of themselves, in which they were nude or nearly nude, online, via text messaging, or in person, during the past year. Although females and older youth were more likely to share sexual photos than males and younger youth, the profile of psychosocial challenge and sexual behavior was similar for all youth. After adjusting for demographic characteristics, sharing sexual photos was associated with all types of sexual behaviors assessed (e.g., oral sex, vaginal sex) as well as some of the risky sexual behaviors examined-particularly having concurrent sexual partners and having more past-year sexual partners. Adolescents who shared sexual photos also were more likely to use substances and less likely to have high self-esteem than their demographically similar peers. Conclusions: Although the media has portrayed sexting as a problem caused by new technology, health professionals may be more effective by approaching it as an aspect of adolescent sexual development and exploration and, in some cases, risk-taking and psychosocial challenge.
    Journal of Adolescent Health 09/2014; 55(6). DOI:10.1016/j.jadohealth.2014.07.012 · 3.61 Impact Factor
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    • "Researchers also have begun to move beyond estimating the extent of sexting to explore attitudes toward, correlates of, and consequences of sexting (e.g., Benotsch, Snipes, Martin, and Bull 2013; Dake et al. 2012; Gordon-Messer, Bauermeister, Grodzinski, and Zimmerman 2013; Lenhart 2009; Reyns et al. 2013). For instance, among participants in the Pew Research Center study, focus groups of teens indicated varied attitudes toward sexting, ranging from viewing it as inappropriate, dangerous, or illegal, to considering it a viable alternative to actual sex (Lenhart 2009). "
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    ABSTRACT: Social scientists have begun to explore sexting—sharing nude or semi-nude images of oneself with others using digital technology—to understand its extent and nature. Building on this growing body of research, the current study utilizes the self-control and opportunity perspectives from criminology to explain sending, receiving, and mutually sending and receiving sext messages. The possible mediating effects of lifestyles and routine activities on the effects of low self-control also were tested using a sample of college students. Results revealed that low self-control is significantly and positively related to each type of sexting behavior, and that while certain lifestyles and routines mediated these effects, low self-control remained a significant predictor of participation in sexting.
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