Article

Sexting and Psychological Distress: The Role of Unwanted and Coerced Sexts

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Abstract

Sexting (e.g., conveying nude electronic images) is now common among young adults. Despite leading to negative consequences for some (e.g., harassment and unwanted dissemination), findings regarding sexting behaviors and mental health variables have been mixed. We recruited a convenience sample of young adults (N = 444, M age = 20, SD = 1) to test the hypothesis that sexting might be associated with poorer mental health. Our results showed no association between receiving or sending sexts overall. However, receiving unwanted sexts, or sexting under coercion, was associated with higher depression, anxiety, and stress symptoms, and lower self-esteem, and these two sexting experiences were independent predictors of psychological distress. The relationship between these sexting behaviors with poor mental health was moderated by gender, with poorer outcomes for males receiving unwanted sexts. These findings indicate a possible moderating factor in sexting and mental health.

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... More recently, Mori et al. (2020) found a rate of 38.3% after meta-analysing data from 50 studies. Results from single studies in different countries coincide in stating that between 55% and 63% of emerging adults have engaged in sexting behaviour at least once (e.g., Klettke et al., 2019;Morelli et al., 2016). In relation to the Spanish population, qualitative studies show that sexting is a common practice in adolescents and also in the context of a romantic relationship Ruvalcaba et al., 2020). ...
... Ultimately, the prevalence of sexting varies according to gender. The majority of research about sexting indicates a higher prevalence of participation in these behaviours in men than in women (e.g., Chacón-López et al., 2019;Gassó et al., 2020;Klettke et al., 2019;Morelli et al., 2016). However, other studies claim that both men and women engage similarly in sexting behaviours (e.g., Perkins et al., 2014;Quesada et al., 2018). ...
... Of particular interest is the relationship between sexting and three aspects of mental health: depression, anxiety and stress. In particular, depression is characterized by feelings of worthlessness, low mood and loss of interest or pleasure (Black & Grant, 2014), thereby leading to a greater need to elicit validation or support from others (Klettke et al., 2019). The vast majority of studies about depression and sexting have proposed that depression may be a risk factor for sexting, finding a positive association between both variables (e.g., Drouin et al., 2015;Frankel et al., 2018;Medrano et al., 2018). ...
Article
SARS-CoV-2 has resulted in the mandatory isolation of the entire population, reducing the opportunities for casual sexual encounters or between partners who do not live together. However, it is plausible to assume that other forms of sexual contact like sexting are occurring. This research aimed to analyse the behaviours and motivations to engage in sexting and to examine some predictors of mental health and loneliness that could be associated with sexting during confinement. The sample consisted of 510 participants: 280 emerging adults and 230 adults. The results showed higher prevalence of sexting behaviours among emerging adults (vs. adults) and among males (vs. females). Moreover, emerging adults reported more motivations to engage in sexting. Finally, the analysis revealed that loneliness would predict engagement in sexting by emerging adults. These findings could have implications for the implementation of sexual education programmes aimed at achieving adequate social interactions associated with sexting.
... . Sexual harassment is a well-recognized and researched problem that effects a wide spread of individuals, with findings suggesting it is the most prevalent form of discrimination (Bargh et al., 1995;Rospenda & Richman, 2005). Even more harmful, sexual harassment is inversely associated with well-being and mental health (Nicolson, 2015), with one study resulting in 90% of sexually harassed individuals experiencing psychological or physical symptoms afterwards (Charney & Russell, 1994) and another finding an increase in depression, anxiety, and stress symptoms, and lower self-esteem (Klettke et al., 2019). This suggests that the aftermath effects for victims can be long-lasting and detrimental. ...
... Other research identified various sexting motivators, including relational attachment, body image reinforcement, and instrumental/aggravated reasons (Bianchi et al., 2017;Currin & Hubach, 2019;Bianchi et al., 2021;Drouin & Landgraff, 2012). Recently, research shifted to looking at motivators of unsolicited sexting; receiving unsolicited sexts are correlated with higher levels of depression, anxiety, stress symptoms, lower self-esteem, and distress levels (Klettke et al., 2019;Valiukas et al., 2019). ...
... Yet, exposing oneself offline is considered a criminal act whereas cyber-flashing is not, indicating that forms of online sexual harassment are not viewed as detrimental compared to sexual harassment in the "real" world. Yet, receiving unsolicited sexual images has been correlated with high levels of depression, anxiety, stress, distress levels, and lower self-esteem (Klettke et al., 2019;Valiukas et al., 2019), suggesting that the behavior is deserving of more attention than currently given. ...
Article
With the majority of individuals in the United States owning a mobile device, communicating via text is popular. Many individuals who text also engage in sexting, commonly defined as sending a sexually suggestive or explicit message that can include a nude image. In September of 2019, Texas passed a law prohibiting the sending of an unsolicited nude image without consent from the receiver. The goal of the study was to capture the reactions of individuals to this state law. There were 400 different responses by 400 different individuals posted on Reddit by users expressing their reactions to the passing of the state law. Initial reactions were captured, chosen from specific Reddit threads containing the link to the law within 1 month of the law being passed. These comments were collected and the research team used thematic analysis to highlight the themes to users’ responses to the sexting law. Of note was the sizeable number of individuals who disapproved of the law, highlighting a lack of knowledge about consent to engage in sexual behaviors in general, the need to gain consent to engage in sexting, and a misunderstanding of what defines sexual harassment. Implications for sex education programs and policy makers are discussed.
... The majority of the existing research has focused on depression and anxiety, with mixed findings emerging. Several studies identified positive associations between sexting and depression [4][5][6][7][8][9][10], while others found no significant relationship [11][12][13]. Similarly, for anxiety, while a number of studies identified positive associations [5,8,14,15], others reported no significant relationship [11][12][13]. ...
... Several studies identified positive associations between sexting and depression [4][5][6][7][8][9][10], while others found no significant relationship [11][12][13]. Similarly, for anxiety, while a number of studies identified positive associations [5,8,14,15], others reported no significant relationship [11][12][13]. Beyond these two variables, sexting has been linked to higher impulsivity [13], greater psychological distress [4,16], higher levels of stress and lower self-esteem [8], conduct disorder [15], and borderline personality disorder features [17]. ...
... Similarly, for anxiety, while a number of studies identified positive associations [5,8,14,15], others reported no significant relationship [11][12][13]. Beyond these two variables, sexting has been linked to higher impulsivity [13], greater psychological distress [4,16], higher levels of stress and lower self-esteem [8], conduct disorder [15], and borderline personality disorder features [17]. Contrarily, a study of Italian adolescents revealed no differences in psychological distress between those who did not sext, moderately sexted, and frequently sexted [18]. ...
Article
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Despite the recent surge of sexting research, the link between sexting and psychosocial health remains inconclusive. To address this gap in the literature, we examined the link between multiple forms of sexting and a range of psychosocial health problems. Data were from a randomized controlled trial of a school-based dating violence prevention program. Participants were 2199 early adolescents (49.8% female) aged 14 years and under (mean age = 13.53, SD = 0.50) enrolled in middle-schools in southeast Texas. Participants self-reported to be 35.4% Hispanic, 7.9% Non-Hispanic White, 26.2% Non-Hispanic Black, 18.6% Asian, and 11.9% other. Multilevel multivariate regressions found that pressured sexting was associated with hostility and aggressive temperament. Receiving unsolicited sexts was associated with depression, impulsivity, hostility, emotion dysregulation, and aggressive temperament. Forwarding sexts without permission was linked to hostility. Asking someone for sexts was linked to impulsivity and aggressive temperament, while being asked to send a sext was associated with depression, anxiety, impulsivity, hostility, emotion dysregulation, and aggressive temperament. Finally, consensual sexting was not significantly associated with poor psychosocial health of any type. Interventions should focus on preventing pressured sexting and teaching early adolescents on how to respond to being pressured to sext.
... Sexting has attracted a lot of attention in popular media and academia primarily due to its associations with risky offline sexual behaviors (Benotsch et al., 2013;Klettke et al., 2014;Ruiz, 2019), legal troubles (Bevin, 2019;Krieger, 2017), and negative mental health outcomes encompassing stress, anxiety, depression, lower self-esteem, post-traumatic stress disorder, and in some cases suicidal ideation (Bates, 2017;Gassó et al., 2019;Klettke et al., 2019). Sexting behaviors have also been widely studied as they constitute a prevalent form of sexual digital communication among adolescents and young adults (Klettke et al., 2014). ...
... Given the associations of sexting behaviors with negative mental health outcomes (Bates, 2017;Gassó et al., 2019;Klettke et al., 2019), and the fact the vast majority of people receive their first mental health disorder diagnosis by the time they are 21 years of age (Caspi et al., 2020), participants were required to be between the ages of 18-21. Respondents also needed to reside in Australia. ...
... Sexting Behaviors. The sexting questionnaire was based on prior sexting studies Drouin & Tobin, 2014;Klettke et al., 2019). Participants were asked whether they had "ever sent sexually explicit images of themselves via text or mobile app" with responses scored on a dichotomous Yes/No scale. ...
Article
Image-based sexting constitutes a visual form of sexual communication. Yet, the degree to which satisfaction with one's physical appearance emboldens or inhibits young adults from engaging in sexting behaviors is poorly understood. This study investigated whether body esteem related to specific body parts and functions can uniquely predict sending sexts, sending consensual but unwanted sexts, and decisions against sending sexts. Six hundred and fourteen Australians aged 18–21 years (M = 19.57, SD = 1.15) took part in the study. Binomial regressions revealed that negative body esteem in relation to lips made a unique contribution to the higher likelihood of sending sexts for women. No further individual body parts or functions made a unique contribution to the models for sending sexts, sending consensual but unwanted sexts, or decisions against sexting across genders. However, body image esteem in relation 35 body parts and functions collectively explained 23% and 35% of variance in sending sexts for women and men. It also explained 14% and 28% of variance in decisions against sending sexts for women and men, but made no significant contribution to the prediction of consensual but unwanted sexts across genders. Methodological implications and directions for future research are discussed.
... The digital age has drastically altered the expression of human relationships, with sexting behaviors described as an extension of normative social interactions, including sexual exploration and behavior [1,2], and similarly converging across technology-facilitated forms, including sexting coercion. While there is no universally agreed upon definition for 'sexting' or 'sexting coercion', most research defines 'sexting' as the electronic exchange of sexually explicit text messages, images, photos, or video content via any digital platform [1][2][3]; whereas 'sexting coercion', constitutes an aggressive and violent form of sexting behavior, occurring amid threat, pressure, persistent requests, and/or coercion [2,4]. ...
... The digital age has drastically altered the expression of human relationships, with sexting behaviors described as an extension of normative social interactions, including sexual exploration and behavior [1,2], and similarly converging across technology-facilitated forms, including sexting coercion. While there is no universally agreed upon definition for 'sexting' or 'sexting coercion', most research defines 'sexting' as the electronic exchange of sexually explicit text messages, images, photos, or video content via any digital platform [1][2][3]; whereas 'sexting coercion', constitutes an aggressive and violent form of sexting behavior, occurring amid threat, pressure, persistent requests, and/or coercion [2,4]. Research frequently uses the umbrella term 'sexting coercion' to comprise both consensual and coercive aspects of the behavior [4][5][6]; however, broad and ambiguous definitions may contribute to inconsistent and mixed findings [7]. ...
... Prevalence rates across multiple studies sampling young people aged 14 to 30 years indicate that between 12-70% of respondents have reported feeling pressured and/or coerced to sext [1,17]. Sexting coercion may also function as an extension of offline forms of sexual coercion [7], with associated gender differences; for example women indicate feeling pressured or forced to sext up to six times more often than men [18][19][20], and adolescent women who experience physical sexual coercion are more likely to engage in sexting behaviors [7]. ...
Article
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Pressure to send sexually explicit messages, or ‘sexting coercion’ is associated with adverse mental health outcomes and sexual risk behaviors. This study explores Differentiation of Self (DoS) as a potential protective factor to reduce susceptibility to sexting coercion. A convenience sample of 399 Australian participants, aged 18 to 21 years (Mage = 19.63; SD = 1.14, 68.2% women) completed an online survey measuring sexting behaviors and DoS. Women were four times more likely to send willing unwanted sexts, and seven times more likely to engage in coerced unwanted sexting than men. Participants with low DoS were four times more likely to engage in coerced unwanted sexting. DoS significantly mediated the relationship between gender and coerced unwanted sexting. Results support the proposal of a sexting coercion typology encompassing discrete sub-types of sexting coercion. Results also indicate DoS may operate as a protective factor for young people in Australia, reducing compliance with sexting when coerced.
... In one study with young adults [53], more than half of the sample indicated that they had engaged in unwanted sexting, and cited various motivations for doing so, including foreplay, flirtation, to fulfill the partner's needs, and, for some, to avoid an argument. Other research has found that receiving unwanted sexts or sending consensual but unwanted sexts independently predicted a range of psychological symptoms, including depression, anxiety, stress, and lower self-esteem [54]. Recent research examining consensual, active sexting further demonstrated that even in this "consensual context", approximately one third of participants reported pressure to sext, and sexting was consistently associated with poorer mental health outcomes for women specifically [55]. ...
... Overall, these studies have shown that sexting more frequently in relationships is related to sexual satisfaction [42], and in some cases, relationship satisfaction [40,[43][44][45]; however, sexting is also related to myriad of negative correlates, including conflict, ambivalence, and insecure attachment patterns [42]. Moreover, and more relevant to the current inquiry, sexting, especially unwanted or coerced sexting, has been found to relate to negative psychological symptoms, dating violence, offline sexual coercion, and IPA e.g., [34,35,42,54]. ...
... Moreover, those who experienced these different forms of IPA were significantly more likely than those who did not experience these forms of IPA to report nearly every type of sexting coercion (with the exception that was there was no difference in experiences of defection threat among those who did and did not experience psychological IPA). Our findings support previous research suggesting that coerced sexting is related to partner victimization [34,35,42,54,55] and again reinforce the idea proposed by Ross et al. [17] that sexting coercion be considered part of the construct of IPA. As partner victimization and coercive control extend to digital formats, it will be important to reconceptualize common definitions of IPA and sexual harassment to include digital violence. ...
Article
Full-text available
Recent empirical data suggests that the majority of adolescents and emerging adults utilize digital technology to engage with texting and social media on a daily basis, with many using these mediums to engage in sexting (sending sexual texts, pictures, or videos via digital mediums). While research in the last decade has disproportionately focused on the potential risk factors and negative consequences associated with sexting, the data are limited by failing to differentiate consensual from non-consensual sexting and account for potential influences of intimate partner aggression (IPA) and sexting coercion in these contexts. In the current study, we assessed the positive and negative consequences associated with sexting, using behavioral theory as a framework, to determine the relationship between an individual's personal history of IPA victimization and the perceived consequences. Undergraduate students (N = 536) who reported consensual sexting completed a series of measures examining their most recent sexting experience, including perceived sexting consequences, and their history of sexting coercion and IPA. Results suggested that those reporting a history of any type of IPA victimization endorsed more negative reinforcing consequences after sending a sext, and those with a history of physical or sexual IPA victimization endorsed more punishing consequences after sending a sext than those without such history. Additionally, experience with IPA was found to be positively correlated with perceived pressure/coercion to send a sext. The implications of these data for research, policy, prevention, and intervention are explored.
... Diferencias en el sexting entre jóvenes (hombres y mujeres). Klettke et al. (2019) Salud mental y sexting. Marengo, Settanni, y Longobardi (2019) Sexting y su efecto en la sexualidad de los adolescentes. ...
... Algunos ejemplos de este tipo de prácticas son: cyberbulling, acoso, abuso sexual, distribución de imágenes sin consentimientos, etc. (Barrense-Dias et al., 2020). En definitiva, prácticas que generan consecuencias graves en los adolescentes como problemas en el desarrollo de la identidad de género, problemas de ansiedad, estrés o autoestima, entre otros aspectos (Klettke, Hallford, Clancy, Mellor, y Toumbourou, 2019;Marengo, Settanni, y Longobardi;Needham, 2020). ...
... They perceive little power and control in their relationships, making it difficult for them to negotiate and enforce protection during sexual interactions. Hence, they are more likely to comply with unprotected sex against their will (Berenson et al., 2015;Edwards & Barber, 2010;Woerner et al., 2016), unwanted sexting (Drouin & Tobin, 2014;Henry et al., 2017;Klettke et al., 2019), and unwanted online privacy intrusion by a partner (Bhogal & Howman, 2019;Reed et al., 2016). Research has not yet investigated the relationship between rejection sensitivity and sexting-related privacy management. ...
... Additionally, there was no effect of rejection sensitivity on sexting-related privacy management. We expected that those with high rejection sensitivity would report less sexting-related privacy management because they have been shown to employ fewer protection behaviors in other romantic areas out of fear of rejection (Drouin & Tobin, 2014;Henry et al., 2017;Klettke et al., 2019). However, they reported just as much sexting-related privacy management as those with low rejection sensitivity. ...
Article
Full-text available
During the global COVID-19 pandemic, many people were physically separated from their romantic or sexual partners and added sexting to their sexual repertoire. Sexting involves the exchange of sensitive data and thus necessitates personal and interpersonal privacy management strategies such as information control and privacy boundary communication. This study investigates the psychological predictors of sexting-related privacy management. In an online survey with 494 young adults, we tested demographic, psychological, and behavioral correlates of sexting-related privacy management. Negative binomial regressions revealed that age, gender, and asynchronous sexting frequency positively predicted sexting-related privacy management. COVID-19-related social isolation moderated the positive effect of asynchronous sexting frequency: Asynchronous sexting frequency had a positive effect on sexting-related privacy management only in individuals with low or mean COVID-19-related social isolation. For those who perceived high COVID-19-related social isolation, asynchronous sexting frequency had no positive effect. This suggests that in a context of social isolation, even frequent sexters are willing to sacrifice their privacy. Relationship status, privacy concerns, rejection sensitivity, and synchronous sexting frequency were not related to sexting-related privacy management. The results highlight the various effects of COVID-19-related social isolation.
... Diferencias en el sexting entre jóvenes (hombres y mujeres). Klettke et al. (2019) Salud mental y sexting. Marengo, Settanni, y Longobardi (2019) Sexting y su efecto en la sexualidad de los adolescentes. ...
... Algunos ejemplos de este tipo de prácticas son: cyberbulling, acoso, abuso sexual, distribución de imágenes sin consentimientos, etc. (Barrense-Dias et al., 2020). En definitiva, prácticas que generan consecuencias graves en los adolescentes como problemas en el desarrollo de la identidad de género, problemas de ansiedad, estrés o autoestima, entre otros aspectos (Klettke, Hallford, Clancy, Mellor, y Toumbourou, 2019;Marengo, Settanni, y Longobardi;Needham, 2020). ...
... Diferencias en el sexting entre jóvenes (hombres y mujeres). Klettke et al. (2019) Salud mental y sexting. Marengo, Settanni, y Longobardi (2019) Sexting y su efecto en la sexualidad de los adolescentes. ...
... Algunos ejemplos de este tipo de prácticas son: cyberbulling, acoso, abuso sexual, distribución de imágenes sin consentimientos, etc. (Barrense-Dias et al., 2020). En definitiva, prácticas que generan consecuencias graves en los adolescentes como problemas en el desarrollo de la identidad de género, problemas de ansiedad, estrés o autoestima, entre otros aspectos (Klettke, Hallford, Clancy, Mellor, y Toumbourou, 2019;Marengo, Settanni, y Longobardi;Needham, 2020). ...
... Diferencias en el sexting entre jóvenes (hombres y mujeres). Klettke et al. (2019) Salud mental y sexting. Marengo, Settanni, y Longobardi (2019) Sexting y su efecto en la sexualidad de los adolescentes. ...
... Algunos ejemplos de este tipo de prácticas son: cyberbulling, acoso, abuso sexual, distribución de imágenes sin consentimientos, etc. (Barrense-Dias et al., 2020). En definitiva, prácticas que generan consecuencias graves en los adolescentes como problemas en el desarrollo de la identidad de género, problemas de ansiedad, estrés o autoestima, entre otros aspectos (Klettke, Hallford, Clancy, Mellor, y Toumbourou, 2019;Marengo, Settanni, y Longobardi;Needham, 2020). ...
... Sexting can play a protective and risk role depending on the way adolescents engage in it [21]. Sending texts may be seen as a method of sexual expression, while receiving texts, especially when unsolicited or unwanted, may be seen as harassment [17,22]. This method of online communication is associated with a problematic use of the internet among adolescents [3]. ...
... Research shows that adolescents undergo a particularly vulnerable period, where they are more likely to engage in risky behaviors to ensure their social adaptation-this kind of coping could lead them to use the internet in problematic ways, facilitating internet addiction and a higher prevalence of sexting among peers [25,26] Sextortion is a concept derived from the study of erotic risk in online behavior and refers to cyber-harassment of sexual nature [27]. It refers to a specific kind of blackmail, using explicit sexual content as a means of manipulating the victim or forcing them to act in a way that would benefit the perpetrator [22]. It is strongly associated with the problematic use of the internet and social networks, and it predicts mental health problems such as depression, sexual risk behavior and self-esteem problems, thus significantly decreasing adolescents' well-being [28]. ...
Article
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Adolescents’ problematic use of the internet and the risk of sexual online victimization are an increasing concern among families, researchers, professionals and society. This study aimed to analyze the interplay between adolescents’ addiction to social networks and internet, body self-esteem and sexual–erotic risk behavior online: sexting, sextortion and grooming. While sexting refers to the voluntary engagement in texting sexual–erotic messages, sextortion and grooming are means of sexual–erotic victimization through the use of the internet. Participants were 1763 adolescents (51% girls), aged 12 to 16 years (M = 14.56; SD = 1.16), from public (n = 1068; 60.60%) and private (n = 695; 39.40%) high schools in the Basque Country (Spain). We carried out structural equation modeling (SEM) using Mplus to assess the mediating effects of body self-esteem in the relationship between addiction to social media and internet and sexual–erotic risk behavior. The results showed that internet addiction predicts online sexual victimization; specifically, the best predictors of sexting, sextortion and grooming victimization were symptoms of internet addiction and geek behavior. Body self-esteem and sexting mediated the relationship between internet addiction and sexual online victimization in adolescents. These results highlight the importance of attending to adolescents’ mental health regarding their online behavior, considering the risk and protective factors involved, due to its close association with online sexual victimization.
... Mitchell, 2014) oder deuten auf eine häufigere Beteiligung von männlichen Jugendlichen beim Versenden freizügiger Fotos hin (Dodaj, Sesar, Jerinić., 2020;Vanden Abeele, Campbell, Eggermont, Roe, 2014). Einige Studien berichten auch, dass männliche Jugendliche häufiger freizügige Fotos empfangen (Klettke, Hallford, Clancy, Mellor, Toumbourou, 2019;Strassberg et al., 2013). Ob es tatsächlich einen geschlechtsspezifischen Effekt gibt, lässt sich somit noch nicht eindeutig beantworten, denn die Studien unterscheiden sich in der untersuchten Altersgruppe und Beteiligungsform an Sexting, in der Definition von Sexting, dem Erfassungszeitraum und dem soziokulturellen Kontext. ...
... Auch im Freundeskreis werden freizügige Fotos verschickt, um Anerkennung oder Bestätigung zu bekommen (Döring, 2012). Neben einer freiwilligen, einvernehmlichen Beteiligung an Sexting, findet Sexting auch nicht einvernehmlich statt, sondern in einem Zwangskontext ("coercive sexting") in dem eine Person unter Druck gesetzt wird, ein freizügiges Foto zu versenden (Klettke et al., 2019;Reed, Boyer, Meskunas, Tolman, Ward, 2020;van Ouytsel, Lu, Ponnet, Walrave, Temple, 2019 (Schoeler, Duncan, Cecil, Ploubidis, Pingault, 2018). Auch kann die schulische oder berufliche Laufbahn negativ beeinflusst werden, wenn freizügige Fotos in Umlauf geraten (Katzman, 2010;Kopecký, 2015). ...
Article
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Sexting, defined as sending and receiving self-produced, sexually explicit images, is a widespread phenomenon among adolescents, which can have negative consequences, especially if an abusive dissemination occurs. In this study, a program on the prevention of the abusive distribution of sexually explicit images was developed and implemented for grades 6 and 7.The programwas evaluated using a pre-, post- and follow-up design. Students’ program satisfaction, students’ attitudes towards privacy on the internet and sexting, their knowledge about sexting and image rights, and their strategies handling sexting were measured. The results of the evaluation show that the adolescents (N = 132; 58.3 % female; Mage = 12.1 years, SD = 0.64) were satisfied with the program.There was a significant increase in knowledge. Furthermore, the results indicate an increase of strategies to cope with an unintentional distribution of a picture and strategies for a responsible use of sexting. Attitudes toward sexting were somewhat less critical after program participation. In addition to the successful implementation of the program in the school context, the results indicate that the program is effective.
... 68,69 Similarly, adolescents who experienced sexual abuse or have engaged in electronic sexting behaviors are 3 to 4 times as likely to experience CSE. 70 Research consistently reports sexual risk taking, online and offline, to be linked with adverse mental health outcomes and future exploitation. 70,71 Online sexual violence research also suggests that pornography and sexting behaviors can function as extensions of offline forms of sexual coercion, 72,73 which may explain our findings associating several online sexual risk behaviors with the physical experience of CSE. ...
... 70 Research consistently reports sexual risk taking, online and offline, to be linked with adverse mental health outcomes and future exploitation. 70,71 Online sexual violence research also suggests that pornography and sexting behaviors can function as extensions of offline forms of sexual coercion, 72,73 which may explain our findings associating several online sexual risk behaviors with the physical experience of CSE. Furthermore, exposure to or exchanging sexually explicit content online can act as a potential vehicle for online grooming and can be a form of CSE itself. ...
Article
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Importance: Although research has examined factors associated with child sexual exploitation (CSE), consensus is lacking in regard to which factors should be prioritized, thereby hindering policy reform, prevention efforts, and development of early detection and intervention. Objective: To provide a meta-analytic synthesis of studies examining factors associated with CSE and to quantify their relative importance. Data sources: Electronic databases searched to June 2019 included Medline, PsycINFO, the Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature, EMBASE, and Informit, yielding 396 nonduplicative records. Literature search was performed in July 2019. Study selection: Inclusion criteria were quantitative investigations of sexual exploitation and mean sample age of 18 years or younger. Data extraction and synthesis: Literature review and data extraction followed Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-analyses (PRISMA) guidelines. Thirty-seven studies met final inclusion criteria. Two independent reviewers extracted all relevant data. Random-effects meta-analyses were used to derive odds ratios (ORs) for each factor. Data were analyzed from September 1 to October 28, 2019, and prediction intervals calculated in June 2020. Main outcomes and measures: Child sexual exploitation, defined as coerced sexual acts between a child or a young person (aged ≤18 years) and an individual or a group in exchange for money, gifts, substances, or other commodities and associated factors. Results: Thirty-seven unique studies were included with a total of 67 453 unique participants (mean [SD] age of 16.2 [2.5] years; 49.9% female). Fifty-two factors associated with CSE were included in the meta-analysis. The strongest factors significantly associated with exposure to sexual exploitation were engagement in sexual risk behaviors (OR, 6.31 [95% CI, 3.12-12.76]; P < .001), having more than 5 sexual partners (OR, 5.96 [95% CI, 1.63-21.87]; P = .007), a diagnosis of posttraumatic stress disorder (OR, 5.29 [95% CI, 3.40-8.22]; P < .001), historical exposure to child pornography (OR, 5.50 [95% CI, 0.99-30.53]; P = .049), and a history of childhood sexual abuse (OR, 3.80 [95% CI, 3.19-4.52]; P < .001). A number of other potentially modifiable factors had moderate to strong associations. Conclusions and relevance: In this systematic review and meta-analysis, children and adolescents affected by sexual exploitation showed high levels of sexual risk taking, multiple sexual partners, posttraumatic stress disorder, exposure to child pornography, and childhood trauma. Accurate detection of CSE may prevent this type of sexual violence occurring to adolescents and/or provide opportunities for intervention and recovery. Therefore, prevention and intervention efforts will likely benefit from integrating these factors into screening, assessment, and treatment.
... Unsolicited sexting, specifically, is conceptualized as a sexual risk-taking behavior and as a form sexual aggression (Henry & Powell, 2015;Krieger, 2017). Sending unsolicited sexts is a prevalent behavior among men with 48% of men reporting having sent an unsolicited sext (Oswald et al., 2019) and 48%-90% of women reporting receiving an unsolicited sext (Klettke et al., 2019;Marcotte et al., 2021). ...
... Understanding risk factors for unsolicited sexting to inform intervention is imperative given the negative consequences recipients of unsolicited sexts experience including depression symptoms, anxiety symptoms, lower self-esteem, and psychological distress (Klettke et al., 2019;Marcotte et al., 2021;Valiukas et al., 2019). Furthermore, prior research suggests other problematic sexting behaviors, such as coercing someone to send a text, is associated with in-person violent behaviors including physical, psychological, and sexual aggression (Noorishad & Trottier, 2022;Ross et al., 2019). ...
Article
Compulsive sexual behaviors (CSB; i.e., recurrent, excessive, and impairing sexual thoughts and behaviors) is prevalent among populations affected by substance use disorder (SUD) and was linked to harmful sexual behaviors. However, less is known about the association between CSB and potentially harmful sexual behaviors that occur in digital contexts (e.g., unsolicited sexting defined as sending sexually-explicit images or messages without the recipient's permission). The present study reviewed medical records for 253 men in residential treatment for SUD to examine the association between CSB and unsolicited sexting and the moderating effect of negative urgency (i.e., the tendency to act impulsively when negative affect is high) on this association. We conducted hierarchical multiple regression analyses using PROCESS. Results revealed a significant positive association between CSB and unsolicited sexting among men who endorsed high and average, but not low, levels of negative urgency. These results suggest that negative urgency may serve as a point of intervention in the relationship between CSB and unsolicited sexting among male residential SUD patients.
... First, a sending could be made in response to such a reception as a reciprocal behavior. [50][51][52] While such an action could be seen as a form of indirect pressure, 49,53 especially because of the unsolicited characteristic of such a reception, it can also allow the two persons to prove that they can trust each other. 51 Second, such a reception can be considered in the context of the peer group effect. ...
... This finding demonstrated that mental health, as measured by this one specific scale, is not directly related to sexting and that it is certainly more a situation of pressure, harassment, and violent reactions from peers that could have effects on mental health. 19,49 Despite the young age of the participants, the suggestive content remained rare compared to more explicit images, especially among those who reported having sent their own intimate image several times. Very few studies have looked at the different types of content and when this has been the case, the results were not in line with ours. ...
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Background: There is a gap in the literature regarding data on sexting among youth under the age of 16 whereas the problems related to this practice could affect them more because of their ongoing development. This study aims to determine the prevalence rate and characteristics of sending one's own sexually related image among middle-school teens. Methods: Data were obtained from a web-based in-school survey conducted between October 2019 and February 2020. The sample comprised 3006 (mean age 13.7; 50.2% males) 10th-grade pupils in the canton of Vaud (Switzerland). Participants were asked "Have you ever sent a sexually related/sexy image of yourself?". Analysis of variance/chi-square tests and multinomial regression analyses were used to compare the groups. Results: Overall, 93.0% reported never, 3.7% once and 3.3% several times. No gender differences were found. Sending was associated with older age, low academic performance, cyberbullying victimization and reception of unsolicited sexually related images. Conclusions: Education and health professionals should be aware that it is necessary to discuss the theme, perhaps with a more global approach including pressure, consent, exchange of nonsexual images, and so on from an early age. The context and reasons for sending remain to be explored, particularly to determine if the pressure is greater at this age.
... The term sexting refers to the sending and receiving, usually by smartphone (Hinduja & Patchin, 2012), of messages that include sexual content (written, photographs, and videos) with partial or implied nudity, as part of sexual communication (Cooper et al., 2016;Klettke et al., 2019). Sexting can occur while adolescents are experimenting with their sexuality (Dir et al., 2013;Henderson & Morgan, 2011). ...
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Sexting (sending, receiving, and forwarding nude, semi-nude, or sexually explicit content) entails risks for adolescents; therefore, it is important for parents to be able to communicate with their children about its implications. The goal of the present study was to identify parental characteristics that lead to dysfunctional communication (lower quality of communication) about sexting, on a sample of 427 parents (336 mothers and 91 fathers) of Israeli adolescents aged 10–18 years and to determine whether parents’ perceived severity of sexting and the degree to which they perceive their adolescent to be susceptible to sexting function as mediating factors. Parents completed a set of questionnaires online. Findings indicated that authoritarian and permissive parenting styles were positively associated with dysfunctional parent–child communication about sexting. Authoritative style was inversely related to dysfunctional communication and was mediated by positive attitudes toward sex education. Additionally, authoritative parents were capable of assessing the severity of their children’s sexting activities, and the degree to which their children were susceptible to engage in sexting. The quality of the discussion initiated by authoritative parents appears to have enabled them to be aware of adolescent behaviors and to adjust their communication about the inherent risks. Findings suggest that the perception of sexting as too risky diminishes parents’ ability to conduct a high-quality discussion about it. In conclusion, research findings emphasize parents’ role in mediation of the online experiences of their children and conducting a constructive discussions with them about sexting.
... This may be due to the broad definition of sexting used in the current study, yet also may be consistent with findings from a recent meta-analysis that has shown rates of sexting to be increasing over time (Madigan et al., 2018). Given the large discrepancy between the number of youth sending versus receiving a sext, it is possible that some of the sexts that were received were unwanted and/or forwarded to others without permission, a practice that is associated with increased depression, anxiety, and stress (Klettke et al., 2019). Also consistent with recent work, we found rates of sexting to be similar among boys and girls (Burén & Lunde, 2018). ...
Article
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Online sexual behaviors like sexting, viewing pornography online, and using the internet to start relationships are increasingly common among adolescents, yet research has struggled to keep pace. This study fills a gap in the sexual communication literature by examining the extent to which a sample of high school adolescents are discussing digital sexual topics with their parents and best friends compared to more traditional sexual topics (pregnancy, STDs, condoms, and abstinence). Participants were 226 U.S. high school students (M age = 16.25; 58% girls; 46% White, 25% Latino, 24% Black) who reported their digital sexual behavior and sexual communication in the past year. Rates of sexting, viewing pornography, and starting relationships online were high (89% had engaged in at least one of these behaviors; 35% engaged in all three behaviors); yet communication about these topics was generally low: only 7% of youth had discussed all three digital topics with their parents and 19% had discussed all three with their best friends. This is in contrast to nearly 50% of youth who discussed traditional topics with their parents and best friends. Patterns of communication and digital sexual behavior were similar by gender, with the exception of pornography: boys were more likely to view pornography and discuss it with friends than girls. Implications for adolescent development in the digital age are discussed.
... Some research has investigated the association between sexting and depression, revealing inconsistent findings. While several studies found a positive association between depressive symptoms and sexting [5,31,33,[37][38][39][40][41][42], other studies showed no significant relationship [27,[43][44][45], and yet other investigations revealed mixed results [32,46,47]. For example, Temple et al. [46] found in a sample of 938 adolescents between 14-and 18-years-old that the link between depression and sexting became insignificant after including sexual behavior, age, gender, race/ethnicity, and parent education as control variables. ...
Article
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Sexting among adolescents has triggered controversial debates among scholars and the general public. However, questions regarding the associations between different types of sexting, namely consensual, non-consensual, and pressured sexting, depressive symptoms, and non-suicidal self-harm remain. In addition, little attention has been given to whether demographic variables (i.e., gender, ethnicity, disability, sexual minority) might influence these associations. To fill these gaps in the literature, the present study was conducted. Participants were 2506 adolescents (ages 13–16 years old; Mage = 15.17; SDage = 0.89) from eight high schools located in the suburbs of a large Midwestern city in the United States. Adolescents self-identified as female (50%), Caucasian (57%), approximately 15% reported that they had a disability they received school accommodation for, and 18% self-identified as a sexual minority. They completed self-report questionnaires on their sexting behaviors, depressive symptoms, and non-suicidal self-harm. Findings revealed that non-consensual and pressured sexting were positively related to depressive symptoms and non-suicidal self-harm, whereas consensual sexting was unrelated to these outcomes. Boys engaged in more non-consensual sexting compared with girls, girls were more pressured to send sexts compared with boys, and sexual minority adolescents reported greater consensual sexting compared with non-sexual minority adolescents. Moderating effects revealed that girls, non-minority adolescents, and non-sexual minority adolescents experienced greater depressive symptoms and non-suicidal self-harm when they experienced pressured sexting. These findings underscore the importance of considering various types of sexting and adolescents’ demographic variables when examining the negative outcomes of sexting. Disentangling the relationships among different types of sexting, depressive symptoms, and self-harm helps aid in the development of evidence-based recommendations for sexting harm prevention and sexual education programs.
... Instead attention has focussed on threatening or obscene messaging in other situations: such as hate speech [20], children's online behaviour [21], and conduct on social media. Furthermore, research on sexting [22] and cyberbullying has tended to focus on peerrelated bullying rather than IPV. Malicious communications can form an aspect of technology-facilitated abuse ('tech abuse'), which includes the monitoring of victims through networked camera systems, stalking via software and tracking tools frequently referred to as "stalkerware" [23,24], and other forms of "smart" technological systems such as Internet-connected household appliances to coerce, control, and harm others [25]. ...
Article
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Purpose Threatening or obscene messaging is repeated, unwanted texts, emails, letters or cards experienced by the recipient as threatening or obscene, and causing fear, alarm or distress. It is rarely examined as an aspect of intimate partner violence. We describe the prevalence of exposure to threatening/obscene messaging from a current or ex-partner; characteristics of victims; and associations with other forms of violence and abuse, mental disorder, self-harm, and suicidality. Methods Cross-sectional probability-sample survey of the general population in England aged 16 + . Multivariable regression modelling tested associations between receipt of threatening/obscene messaging and current common mental disorder, past-year self-harm and suicidality. Results Threatening/obscene messages were received from a current/ex-partner by 6.6% (95%CI: 5.9–7.3) of adults who had been in a relationship; 1.7% received these in the past year. Victims were more likely to be female, under 35, single or divorced, socioeconomically disadvantaged, and to have experienced other forms of sexual and partner violence and abuse. Those who received threatening/obscene messages in the past year were more likely to experience common mental disorder (adjusted odds ratio 1.89; 1.01–3.55), self-harm (2.31; 1.00–5.33), and suicidal thoughts (2.00; 1.06–3.78). Conclusion Threatening/obscene messaging commonly occurs in the context of intimate partner violence. While often occurring alongside sexual and physical violence, messaging has an additional association with mental disorder and suicidality. Routine enquiry in service settings concerning safety, including those working with people who have escaped domestic violence, should ask about ongoing contact from previous as well as current partners. This should include asking about messaging, as well as other forms of potentially technology-enabled abuse which may become increasingly common.
... More recently, researchers have pushed to separate definitions of sexting according to degrees of consent (Slane, 2010;Slane, 2013;Krieger, 2017). Non-consensual sexting has been called a variety of terms including: "aggravated sexting" (Johnson et al., 2018;Wolak & Finkelhor, 2011), "secondary sexting" (Del Ray et al., 2019), "pressured sexting" (Englander, 2015), and "coerced but consensual sexting" (Klettke et al., 2019). While this work is important, inclusion of the term 'sexting' in the descriptions of these harmful behaviours maintains the conceptual association of consensual sexting with risk, whereby these non-consensual behaviours are viewed as an unfortunate by-product of consensual sexting (Krieger, 2017). ...
Article
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This article reports on a qualitative research study Sharing Networked Image Practices (SNIP) among young people. We explore our findings from 37 focus groups with 206 young people aged (11–19) in London and South East England and Toronto, Canada conducted in 2019 and 2020. Drawing on feminist legal and criminological scholarship (Powell & Henry, 2017; McGlynn et al., 2017; McGlynn and Johnson, 2020) we develop a framework to clearly identify how and when image sharing should be constituted as forms of: (1) Image-Based Sexual Harassment (IBSH) (i.e. unsolicited penis images (‘dick pics’) and unwanted solicitation for nudes), and (2) Image-Based Sexual Abuse (IBSA) (i.e. non-consensual image creation/sharing). We argue that categorizing non-consensual image sharing, showing and distributing as image-based sexual harassment and abuse rather than ‘sexting’ is an important conceptual shift to enable young people, schools, parents and all relevant stakeholders to recognize and address new forms of technology-facilitated sexual violence.
... We did not measure coercion because we focused on overall controlled motivations for sexting in the relationship as opposed to individual scenarios. Nonetheless, past research has illustrated that when coercion is accounted for, participants are more likely to engage in sexual compliance (Katz & Tirone, 2009;Willis & Nelson-Gray, 2022) and experience higher depression, anxiety, stress, trauma, sexual problems, attachment dysfunction, and lower selfesteem Klettke et al., 2019;Ross et al., 2019). Despite not knowing the frequency, some participants who reported controlled motivations for sexting may have engaged as a result of coercion, and these experiences may be especially damaging for outcomes. ...
Article
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Although many studies have examined reasons for sexting among young people, few have taken into account the underlying motivations associated with different reasons and how that may be associated with divergent positive or negative outcomes. This study addressed this gap by employing Self-determination Theory to assess how autonomous and controlled motivations for sexting were related to subjective well-being and relationship quality among emerging adults. Online survey data from 267 emerging adults (72 men, 195 women) ages 18–25 who had sent sexually explicit images or videos of themselves through electronic means to a committed partner were analyzed using Structural Equation Modeling. Autonomous and controlled motivations for sexting were significantly related to pleasant affect, with autonomous motivation predicting more pleasant affect and controlled motivation predicting less pleasant affect. Autonomous motivations for sexting were related to enhanced relationship quality, whereas controlled motivations for sexting were related to decreased relationship quality. Neither form of motivation had a statistically significant relationship with unpleasant affect or life satisfaction. These results demonstrate that the quality of motivations for sexting among emerging adults in committed relationships may contribute to different outcomes, particularly in terms of relationship quality. Implications for counselors, educators, and practitioners working with emerging adults who sext are discussed.
... Interestingly, the same relationship with age did not emerge for receiving sexts. This may speak to youth receiving unsolicited/unwanted sexts prior to being developmentally prepared (Van Ouytsel et al., 2021;Klettke et al., 2019). Future research may seek to explore the implications of differential associations between age and sexting behaviors; perhaps youth typically receive sexts prior to sending, or youth who have non-consensually received sexts are more likely to send in the future. ...
Article
Purpose Early adolescent sexting has implications for health and wellbeing. Parenting practices may impact youth engagement in online risk behaviors. This study examines associations between parental media mediation and early adolescent sexting in a sample of U.S. youth and their parents. Methods Parents and their 10-14-year-olds (N = 306 dyads) completed an online survey of technology use and online experiences. Youth reported on receiving (valid % = 14.5) and sending (valid % = 11.5) sexts. Media parenting behaviors were measured by four scales (youth and parent report): active mediation, restriction, parental monitoring, and technology control. Logistic regression was used to test associations between media parenting and sexting, controlling for demographic and social covariates. Results Parent and child reports of restrictive parenting were negatively associated with sending and receiving sexts; active mediation was negatively associated with sending sexts; and parent report of monitoring was positively associated with sending sexts. Age, SES, and parent respondent gender were associated with sending sexts. Conclusions Specific types of parental media mediation are associated with reduced youth sexting, particularly restriction and active mediation. Although parent and youth report of mediation were similar, differences emerged. Future research should explore these differences and associations with health risk behaviors.
... In the professional literature, sexting is defined as sending sexual messages that include both text and nude or seminude photographs to others [7,8]. This phenomenon is not necessarily related to risk behaviors; however, its implications can include risks, particularly if the content is published online or used for sextortion or as revenge porn [9,10]. ...
... Sexting coercion can include receiving threats, blackmail, or pressure to sext . Indeed, sexting coercion is considered one of the more harmful sexting experiences (Klettke et al., 2019). Additional findings reveal that pressure to sext is common even among consensual sexting, yet there is a distinct difference between nonconsensual sexting, unwanted sexting, and coerced sexting (Cornelius et al., 2020). ...
Article
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As sexting continues to develop as a facet of sexual behavior among emerging adults, it is important to examine precursors and outcomes of such behavior. Current research is beginning to examine potential positive outcomes of consensual sex- ting in addition to negative consequences, as well as the motivations and contexts in which these consequences manifest. The purpose of the present study was to examine motivations for consensual sexting across gender and relationship status, as well as a range of perceived consequences of sexting in undergraduate emerging adults (N=536; 77.2% women). With regards to motivations for sexting, men and those in committed romantic relationships more frequently reported that their sexting was incited by relational motives compared to women and those in casual sexual relationships. In examining consequences of sexting, women reported higher levels of punishment compared to men. A significant interaction was present between gender and relationship status, revealing that women in casual sexual relationships reported the highest amounts of negative consequences. These findings highlight the complexity of sexting behaviors and suggest the need for more nuanced research to accurately conceptualize and contextualize the motivations for and the consequences of sexting as a function of relationship status and gender.
... Sexting is defined as sending and receiving messages that include sexual text and pictures depicting full or partial nudity for the purpose of generating sexual communication (Cooper, Quayle, Jonsson, & Svedin, 2016;Klettke, Hallford, Clancy, Mellor, & Toumbourou, 2019). Sexting is often used during the developmental stage in which adolescents begin to experiment with their sexuality (Dir, Coskunpinar, Steiner, & Cyders, 2013;Henderson & Morgan, 2011). ...
Article
Sexting (sending and receiving sexual messages online), a legitimate means of communication if there is mutual consent, may put adolescent users at risk. Hence, parents must be able to address their children’s sexuality and be capable of mediating the implications of sexting for them. Cultural differences may play a role in this important discourse. The current study sought to identify parental factors that lead to low-quality communication about adolescent sexting in Jewish and Arab societies in Israel. Participants included 427 Israeli parents (Jewish N = 242, 56.7%, Arab N = 185, 43.3%) who answered seven online questionnaires. Results revealed ethnic differences between Arab and Jewish parents with regard to the quality of parent-child communication about sexting. Arab parents tended more toward low-quality communication about sexting than did Jewish parents. Perceived severity of sexting and perceived susceptibility to sexting led to more low-quality communication by Arab than by Jewish parents. Mothers in both societies were better able to mediate sexting and displayed higher parental efficacy than did the fathers. These findings provide useful insights for therapists and parents into the link between parental factors and the quality of communication about sexting with adolescent children.
... Certain attributes of adolescence (non-deaf adolescents) such as sexual experimentation and exploration as well as activities associated with risky sexual behaviours have been linked to variations in personality differences (Crimmins & Seigfried-Spellar, 2017) and self-esteem (Klettke et al., 2019;Ybarra & Mitchell, 2014). However, findings among the nondeaf population about the implication of self-esteem and sexting are inconclusive. ...
Article
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This study determined some psychosocial variables on cyber-intimate image diffusion among in-school deaf adolescents from two states in North-Central Nigeria. A descriptive research design and a multistage sampling procedure were employed in identifying 186 deaf adolescents who participated in the study. Two hypotheses were formulated for the study. The theory of planned behaviour was adopted as a framework for the study. Data generated through the questionnaire were analysed using descriptive statistics of frequency count and simple percentage as well as inferential statistics of bivariate correlation and t-test at .05 level of significance. Sixty-five percent of the respondents were aged 16-19. All respondents used WhatsApp and 78% had a Facebook profile. Findings revealed a positive significant relationship between emotional intelligence (r = .489; p < 0.05), self-esteem (r = .530; p < 0.05) and cyberintimate image diffusion. Also, significant differences were found between Christian and Muslim respondents (t = 11.250; p < 0.05); low and high emotional intelligence (t = -2.412; p < 0.05); low and high selfesteem (t = -11.958; p < 0.05) with regard to cyber-intimate intimate image diffusion. The study concludes that emotional intelligence and self-esteem are determinants of cyber-intimate image diffusion among deaf adolescents. This study, therefore, recommends a synergy between parents of the deaf and professionals working with deaf adolescents to develop modalities that enhance psychological wellbeing and reduce cyber-intimate image diffusion among deaf adolescents.
... Even so, an overwhelming amount of literature documents continued concern regarding youth's involvement in sexting because of the negative outcomes that are frequently found to be associated with such behaviors, as well as the legal ramifications that youth may face as a result. As such, sexting is a serious public health concern, as an emerging body of research has demonstrated that sexting is associated with adverse psychosocial outcomes, including depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, declining academic performance, and health problems [1,[6][7][8][9]. In addition, there are considerable legal consequences that could result from sexting, as legal opinions on the matter are contentious; a number of legal cases regarding sexting have resulted in adolescents being charged with violations of child pornography laws. ...
Article
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Adolescent sexting is a serious public health concern and is associated with adverse psychosocial outcomes, including depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, declining academic performances, and health problems. Effective prevention of sexting requires a comprehensive and deep understanding of the multiple contexts whereby sexting is likely to occur. The present study explores individual and contextual risk and protective factors that are associated with sexting behavior among a large sample of adolescents. Participants were high school students in midwestern U.S. (N = 2,501; LGB n = 309, 76.4% female; Non-LGB n = 2,192, 47.4% female) who completed self-report measures of sexting and risk (e.g., pornography exposure, impulsivity) and protective (e.g., social support) factors. Path analysis models were conducted with the sexting outcome for groups of LGB and Non-LGB students. Among LGB students, results indicated a significant association between sexting and parental monitoring (b = -.08, p<.01); pornography exposure (b = .13, p<.01); dating partners (b = .01, p<.01); bullying perpetration (b = .17, p<.001); and delinquency (b = .13; p<.001). Among Non-LGB students, significant associations were found between sexting and alcohol/substance use (b = .05, p<.01); bullying (b = .08, p<.001); and delinquency (b = .06, p < .001). Moderation analyses suggest that parental monitoring may have a buffering effect between sexting and several risk factors. Recommendations for practitioners include considering the protective factors of sexting perpetration and encouraging appropriate levels of parental monitoring and the continued importance of bullying and alcohol and drug prevention programming to decrease risk factors of sexting perpetration.
... Klettke et al. (2014), in their literature review, found significant relationships between sexting and risky sexual behaviours, and between sexting and several other adverse outcomes, such as the sharing of sexual content without consent, legal consequences, and negative mental health repercussions. However, in a more recent study on a sample of young adults, Klettke et al. (2019) found no significant relationships between sending or receiving sexts and psychological distress indicators. Nonetheless, receiving unwanted sexts, or sexting under coercion, was associated with higher depression, anxiety, stress symptoms, and lower self-esteem, confirming the necessity to clearly define and contextualise sexting behaviours and motivations in order to explore the related outcomes. ...
Article
Studies on sexting motivations have produced a wealth of data and valuable information, but the roles of potentially relevant psychological variables in predicting specific sexting motivations have rarely been investigated. This study aims to explore, in a sample of 587 Italian adults (Mage = 25.5; SD = 6), whether online moral disengagement, body dissatisfaction, and three psychosexual variables can predict different sexting motivations (i.e., body image reinforcement, sexual, and aggravated/instrumental motivations), and whether these reasons can predict different sexting behaviours, such as private sexting, sexts' dissemination, and posting own’ sexts online. A full Structural Equation Modeling analysis was carried out to explore the relationships between predictors of sexting motivations, sexting motivations, and sexting behaviours. Results showed that sending sexts privately was positively affected by all three sexting motivations. Posting own’ sexts online was only affected by body image reinforcement in a positive direction, whereas disseminating others’ sexts was only positively predicted by aggravated/instrumental reasons. In turn, body image reinforcement was positively affected by sexual preoccupation and negatively by body esteem. Sexual purposes were instead positively predicted by sexual esteem and sexual satisfaction and negatively by online moral disengagement and body esteem. Finally, aggravated/instrumental reasons were positively influenced by online moral disengagement and sexual preoccupation. Our study highlights the role of online moral disengagement in predicting aggravated/instrumental reasons, which lead to harmful or even illegal forms of sexting, and further supports the idea that aggravated and experimental sexting are two distinct behaviours, with distinct precursors.
... Investigators have found that among young people, sexting is associated with depression, suicidal ideation, and other poor psychosocial outcomes, although to our knowledge no studies have identified a causal relationship between sexting and these outcomes (e.g., Medrano, Lopez, & Gámez-Guadix, 2018;Temple et al., 2014;Van Ouytsel, Van Gool, Ponnet, & Walrave, 2014). Unwanted sexts and sexting under coercion are associated with related to depression, low self-esteem, and stress (Klettke, Hallford, Clancy, Mellor, & Toumbourou, 2019). The implicit assumption across most of this literature is that abstinence from sexting is ideal, particularly for young people. ...
Article
Many adolescents and adults engage in sexting: the exchange of nude photos via cellular phones. Most sexting research focuses on associated health risks and negative outcomes (e.g., privacy breaches), with less examination of positive sexting outcomes and the role sexting plays in intimate relationships. In this study, we elicited participants' evaluations of their sexting outcomes. College students (N = 1265) completed the anonymous online survey about sexting. The acts of sending, receiving, and forwarding sexts were considered separately. Content analysis and group comparisons were used to analyze data. A substantial proportion of participants reported sending and/or receiving sexts. Participants described a variety of outcomes, both positive (e.g., relationship benefits, self-confidence) and negative (e.g., receipt of unwanted sexts, guilt). Participant religiosity, and the relationship between sender and receiver (e.g., committed relationship, online acquaintance), were among the factors that affected whether participants rated their sexting experiences as positive, neutral, or negative, and to perceived likelihood of future sexting. Sexting contributed to participants’ relationships and identities in both positive and negative ways. The results highlight how the context (e.g., cultural, relational, personal) of sexting is important for understanding perceived outcomes and future sexting behavior.
... This study allowed for an initial exploration of both sexting coercion victimization and perpetration and used single items for sexting coercion victimization and perpetration with dichotomous answer options. Although this is a method that has been used in other studies (Klettke et al., 2019), future research should use multiple questions to assess these constructs. ...
Article
Objectives This study investigates the relationship between sexting, sexting coercion, and in-person sexual coercion victimization and perpetration. It aims to determine (1) if sexters are more likely to experience in-person sexual coercion perpetration or victimization than non-sexters and (2) if sexting coercion perpetration or victimization can be predicted by prior experiences of in-person or technology-based sexual coercion perpetration and victimization. Methods Participants (N = 1076; ages 16 to 83) completed an online questionnaire about sexual experiences including modified French-translated versions of the Sexual Experiences Survey – Perpetration & Victimization – Tactics First. Results Findings reveal that (1) sexters experience more in-person sexual coercion perpetration and victimization than non-sexters, (2) within a sexting coercion perpetration regression model, being a man and past experiences of in-person perpetration predicted sexting coercion perpetration, and (3) within a sexting coercion victimization regression model, being young, being a woman, and past experiences of in-person victimization predicted sexting coercion victimization. Conclusions These findings suggest that coercive tactics extend from in-person to technology-based sexual interactions and emphasize the need to investigate similarities and distinctions between in-person and technology-based sexual coercion as well as factors that make sexters more likely to be involved in sexual coercion.
Article
Information and communication technologies provide new opportunities for adolescents to establish and maintain intimate relationships, as well as exploring their sexuality. However, the young population is particularly vulnerable to becoming victims of violence or online abuse. The aim of this study was to understand to which extent the personality factors (extraversion, narcissism, lack of empathy and disinhibition) are related to sexting and online grooming victimization. The participants were 1763 adolescents between 12 and 16 years (M = 14.56, SD = 1.16, 50.99% girls). A cross-sectional design with self-report data was used, analyzed by structural equation modeling (SEM). The results indicated that boys are more frequently involved in sexting and online grooming activities than girls. Personality profiles differ between sexual-erotic online behaviors, with different patterns for boys and girls. While the combination of a variety of personal characteristics such as narcissism, lack of empathy, disinhibition and extraversion predicts erotic online activities in boys, the personality factors that best predict such online risk behavior in girls are narcissism and disinhibition. When parents or educators perceive that children are showing narcissistic and uninhibited behaviors on social media and the internet, it may be beneficial to assess their sexual-erotic online activities in order to intervene and protect them from becoming victims of online harassment.
Article
Research on sexting has highlighted the association between sexting coercion and mental health correlates. This study aimed to investigate the psychopathological correlates of different sexting coercion behaviours using clinically validated measures, analysing differences by gender. The sample comprised 1370 Spanish university students (73.6% female; Mage = 21.4, SD = 4.9). Significant differences between males and females were found for engagement in sexting, sexting coercion and sexting victimisation. Males were significantly more likely to engage in sexting coercion perpetration and females were significantly more likely to be victimised by sexting coercion. Female students showed a significant association for all of the sexting behaviour forms and poorer mental health. Implications for prevention and intervention policies are discussed.
Article
The study examines sexting among 3,171 Greek university students in the context of different relationship types (i.e. romantic partners, friends, strangers). Participants completed an anonymous online survey, assessing sexting during the last year along with demographic and relationship status information. Sexting was a common practice among participants, with the use of mobile phones and the Messenger application to exchange sexts. Sexting was more common among males and non-heterosexuals. Participants aged 25 and above were more likely to exchange sexts with strangers than those aged between 18 and 24. Romantic partners reported exchanging sexts more often than strangers. Hierarchical regression analyses indicated that non-heterosexual males in a long-distance romantic relationship were more likely to participate in sexting, and that non-heterosexual older males who have been single for the last year were more likely to exchange sexual or provocative messages with strangers. Findings are discussed in terms of their implications.
Article
Introduction In the past years, research regarding sexting behaviours and online sexual victimization has been rapidly growing, with literature examining the social, legal, psychological and psychopathological consequences of being coerced into sexting. However, up to date, there is little evidence exploring the psychopathological profile of sexting coercion perpetrators. The aim of this study was to examine differences in the psychopathological profile of sexting coercion perpetrators vs non-perpetrators, and, additionally, examining sex differences. Methods The original sample comprised 1370 college students (including 74% females, mean age = 21.40). The non-perpetrator subsample comprised 1247 participants (76% females, mean age 21.39) and the sexting coercion perpetration subsample comprised 75 participants (30% females, mean age = 21.38). Results Data indicated significant differences in the psychopathological profile between perpetrators and non-perpetrators, with the first group showing higher scores for different psychopathology scales. When examining sex differences intragroup, results showed significant differences between perpetrator males and non-perpetrator males for scales related with dysfunctional attachment, anger, frustration and social skills. Significant differences between female samples were only found for hostility. Finally, no differences were found between sexting coercion perpetrator males and females, with both groups showing similar psychopathological profiles. Conclusions People who engaged in sexting coercion perpetration show a different psychopathological profile than those who did not report coercing someone into sexting, however, males and females coercers show similar psychopathological profiles. Further results and implications regarding psychopathological differences between examined groups are discussed.
Article
Introduction To explore and understand the relationship between sexting behavior and adolescent mental health and well-being. Method A constructivist grounded theory study was conducted. Seventeen 18–22-year-old participants provided recollective and reflective accounts of sexting experiences throughout their adolescence. Results Engaging in the Culture of Teen Sexting materialized as the central process and title for the grounded theory that emerged. Six primary processes included Engaging in the Culture of Teen Sexting, Identifying Motivating Factors, Forming Perceptions and Feelings, Acknowledging and Managing Risks, Connecting Mental Health and Sexting, and Finding a Sexual Self. Discussion The findings suggested sexting is part of teen culture and normal adolescent sexual growth and development. Acknowledging sexting as a culture and normal part of sexual growth and development will assist pediatric nurse practitioners in engaging teens in conversations about sexting, helping them to navigate the risks of sexting and find healthy ways to manage sexting behavior.
Thesis
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This thesis concerns sexting among Swedish adolescents and adolescent sexual development. Adolescence is a period of major bodily, cognitive, and social changes and of sexual exploration. As many post-millennials have intertwined their lives with digital technologies, this sexual exploration also occurs in the digital context in the form of sexting. Sexting is the sending of nude or semi-nude pictures or video clips online. With sexting being a relatively common phenomenon among adolescents, questions have been raised concerning why adolescents engage in it and with whom, what sexting experiences adolescents have, and how sexting affects adolescent sexual development. Answering these questions may be central to better understanding adolescent sexting and, more importantly, may shed light on the role of sexting in healthy adolescent sexual development. The three constituent studies of this thesis addressed these questions. In Study I, 1653 adolescents (mean age 14.20 years) completed a questionnaire. The results indicated that, depending on whom the adolescent had sexted with, the prevalence rates were 4.4–16.0% for sending sexts and 23.5–26.8% for receiving sexts. It was most common for participants to send sexts to a romantic partner, and the least common to a stranger. Girls were more likely to report negative experiences of sexting than were boys and felt more pressure to send sexts. Developmental factors such as age, perceived pubertal timing, online risk-taking, and peer and family support were all related to sexting, but different relationship patterns emerged depending on gender and to whom the sext was sent. In Study II, a hypothesized model was tested using SEM to examine whether different aspects of body image were related to sexting. The study showed that sexting was more common among adolescents who perceived appearance to be important for their self-image and in their social context (i.e., dysfunctional appearance beliefs). How much one monitors and views one’s body as an object of others’ desire (i.e., self-objectification) was also related to sexting with a stranger among boys. In Study III, 808 answers to an open-ended question were qualitatively analyzed for content, to examine the social norms that operate in the adolescents’ peer groups. Among peers, sexting was seen as an acceptable activity based on certain conditions, for example, that it occurs within a trusting relationship and that there is mutual agreement between the sexting partners. It was not seen as an accepted practice if, for example, the partner was someone unknown. In the peer group, it was also perceived that girls were unfairly treated when engaging in sexting, that sexting entailed certain risks, and that some adolescents may engage in sexting for attention or pleasure. The results of the three studies were discussed in relation to the overarching aims of the thesis. More specifically, sexting was assumed to be related to several psychosocial factors within and outside the adolescent. It was also concluded that it is important to consider whom the adolescents’ sext with and that although sexting may play an important role in adolescents’ sexual exploration and expression, it may also entail certain risks of harm. Sexting can be understood as one sexual behavior among others that may fit into adolescent sexual development.
Article
Although most sexting among adolescents occurs in the context of romantic relationships, researchers have not fully investigated how relationships involving sexting differ from those that do not. This study assessed how individual and relationship characteristics differ by whether adolescent dating partners sext (N = 269). Adolescents in sexting relationships were more likely to report sexual intercourse with their dating partner compared to those who did not sext, scored lower on measures of self-reported relationship competency, and were in relationships characterized by more abusive behaviors and verbal conflict, as well as less positive support. Boys who sexted their dating partners reported less positive intimacy in their relationships than girls who sexted. Adolescents in relationships where one partner sent more sexts than the other did not report more negative relationship behaviors relative to non-sexters and those who sent equal numbers of sexts. Lastly, relationships with and without sexting did not differ on whether they had broken up six months later. Results suggest that sexting may be a characteristic of lower-quality adolescent romantic relationships, but more information about the sexting context is needed. Implications for understanding sexting as both a normative feature of adolescent romantic relationships and as a risky sexual behavior are discussed.
Article
Despite strong concerns that sexting poses risks for adolescents’ well-being, previous research finds mixed results. Moreover, these studies rely heavily on self-report measures and cross-sectional designs. This study utilizes observational methods to examine longitudinal relations between text-based sexting and both negative and positive indicators of psychosocial adjustment. An ethnically diverse sample of 197 adolescents was provided smartphones that captured their text messages across high school, from 2008–2012. Two, two-day samples of text messages from grades 9–12 were content-coded (468,201 total observations). Sexting was defined as sending and receiving text-based statements about past, present, or hypothetical sexual behaviors occurring between dyadic texting partners. Each year, adolescents reported on negative (internalizing, externalizing, and social problems; borderline personality features) and positive (life satisfaction, group belongingness, and positive self-perceptions) indicators of their psychosocial adjustment. Using concurrent and longitudinal multilevel models, greater sexting at one time point than one’s average (within-person) was only associated with lower levels of group belongingness within the same year. For girls only, text-based sexting more than others on average (between-person) was related to increased externalizing symptoms and borderline personality disorder features, as well as decreased life satisfaction, group belongingness, self-perceived social competence, and global self-worth. No within-person differences by gender emerged, nor did longitudinal associations. Future studies and intervention efforts should examine when and why higher sexting might be related to psychosocial problems among girls.
Article
Purpose This paper aims to identify the factors that motivate parents to adopt internet monitoring software (aka parental control software [PCS]) to curb problematic internet usage and safeguard their children online. By doing so, the authors are able to curb problematic internet usage and keep children safe online. Design/methodology/approach An online survey was conducted using a representative sample of 330 parents in the USA with children ages 10 to 15. Results were analyzed using structural equation modeling. Findings This research combines two theories, namely, technology acceptance model (TAM) and protection motivation theory (PMT) to factors that motivate parents to adopt internet monitoring software to help their children. Perceived severity, perceived vulnerability from PMT and personal innovativeness (PI) from TAM, which is related to self-efficacy and the belief that future technologies will require less effort to adopt, are key factors that influence parents’ perceived usefulness of PCS. Perceived usefulness and PI both positively predict parents’ purchase intention for internet monitoring software. Practical implications The study establishes that there are personal, technology and situational factors that motivate the adoption of PCS. These determinants have implications for how marketers identify potential users and how they might improve the promotion of internet monitoring technologies. Originality/value The paper extends the application of the technology acceptance model and PMT to predict technology adoption aimed at helping others. Findings show that personal and perceptual factors motivate parents’ adoption of internet monitoring software to curb problematic internet usage and keep children safe online. This paper is the first to combine the technology acceptance model and PMT to explain the adoption of software solutions to protect others online. By doing so, a more thorough account of parents’ technology adoption to protect their children is offered.
Article
Introduction In the past years, research regarding sexting behaviours and online sexual victimization has been rapidly growing, with literature examining the social, legal, psychological and psychopathological consequences of being coerced into sexting. However, up to date, there is little evidence exploring the psychopathological profile of sexting coercion perpetrators. The aim of this study was to examine differences in the psychopathological profile of sexting coercion perpetrators vs non-perpetrators, and, additionally, examining sex differences. Methods The original sample comprised 1370 college students (including 74% females, mean age = 21.40). The non-perpetrator subsample comprised 1247 participants (76% females, mean age 21.39) and the sexting coercion perpetration subsample comprised 75 participants (30% females, mean age = 21.38). Results Data indicated significant differences in the psychopathological profile between perpetrators and non-perpetrators, with the first group showing higher scores for different psychopathology scales. When examining sex differences intragroup, results showed significant differences between perpetrator males and non-perpetrator males for scales related with dysfunctional attachment, anger, frustration and social skills. Significant differences between female samples were only found for hostility. Finally, no differences were found between sexting coercion perpetrator males and females, with both groups showing similar psychopathological profiles. Conclusions People who engaged in sexting coercion perpetration show a different psychopathological profile than those who did not report coercing someone into sexting, however, males and females coercers show similar psychopathological profiles. Further results and implications regarding psychopathological differences between examined groups are discussed.
Chapter
Although there is a growing interest in understanding the impact of types and patterns of Internet use on individuals of different ages, relatively few studies have fully considered developmental perspectives. This chapter offers an overview of the main findings regarding Internet use and problematic Internet use during stages of development. It includes both behavioral development and neurodevelopment and describes frequently performed online behaviors including social networking, online sex, gambling and gaming, and cyberbullying.
Article
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The purpose of this qualitative study was to obtain youth perspectives on consensual and non-consensual sexting. We began this study on young people’s (12–19) sexting practices in a large urban center. Before the study was put on pause due to COVID-19 physical distancing measures, we conducted 12 focus groups with 62 participants (47 girls, 15 boys). A key finding was that many girls had received unsolicited sexts (e.g., “dick pics”) or unwanted requests for sexts. Analysis revealed four interconnected themes: (1) unsolicited sexts; (2) unwanted requests for sexts; (3) complexity associated with saying “no”; and (4) general lack of adult support. Using our findings from before COVID-19, we discuss the potential impact of COVID-19 on teens’ sexting experiences and outline the ways in which social workers and other mental health practitioners can support adolescents and their parents in navigating this new context of sexting during and beyond the global pandemic.
Article
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Napredak tehnologije u zadnjih dvadesetak godina nedvojbeno je promijenio način života pa tako i način odrastanja djece i mladih, a uporaba interneta postala je sastavnim dijelom svakodnevnih životnih aktivnosti. Korištenje modernim tehnologijama, osobito u okviru rizičnih online aktivnosti, u ovom će radu biti razmotreno kao rizik u kontekstu odrastanja, a od rizičnih ponašanja razmatrat će se seksting (engl. sexting), odnosno izmjenjivanje seksualnih sadržaja, seksualna prisila i iznuda (engl. sextortion) kao iznuđivanje seksualnih sadržaja te vrbovanje ili mamljenje (engl. grooming) kao zavođenje ili namamljivanje maloljetne osobe. Svi rizici bit će detaljno analizirani u kontekstu seksualnog zlostavljanja i iskorištavanja putem interneta međusobnom povezanošću, razmatranjem posljedica kao i ulogom stručnjaka iz multikulturalne perspektive. Razvoj modernih tehnologija, kao i mogućnosti koje donosi, posebno u pandemiji, predstavljaju plodno tlo za ozbiljne prijetnje mentalnom zdravlju djece i mladih, ali i postavljaju zahtjeve pred sve one koji se bave zaštitom djece i mladih da kreiraju i razvijaju nove sustave zaštite djece.
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Sexting is a challenging cyberpsychological phenomenon in today’s digital world. This challenge especially resonates among women, as they face severe pressures from social, psychological, and technological fronts, thus pulling them away from getting involved in the phenomenon. The current research initiative adopted the Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB) and underlined the role of guilt and depression driven by the fear of social exclusion (as a social influence), gymnophobic attitude, and fear of being scammed (as a deficiency in IT self-efficacy) as exogenous factors to measure its position in mapping women’s intentions to avoid sexting (in the hypothetical scenario). The study used convenience sampling to draw 472 (women) respondents from Pakistan with the mean age of 29 years old to measure the socio-psycho-techno-driven fears and their relationship with the mediating variables of depression and guilt. This information was used to map out the intentions to avoid sexting among women. The study found that social threat was the most significant construct, and depression was twice as influential as guilt in mapping women’s intentions to avoid sexting. The study suggested that if women engaged in sexting, gymnophobic attitude and the social threat posed challenges for their psychological well-being. Moreover, the threat of being scammed as a factor needs to be more effectively communicated in society to map intentions to avoid its related challenges in sexting victimization.
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Sexual modesty is the social, cultural, interpersonal, and psychological systems - defined by the tenets of Script Theory - that regulate individuals' sexual expression and experience at the social, legal, and interpersonal boundaries of acceptable/not-acceptable, private/public, and personal/social. Almost all aspects of sexual expression and experience are touched by the pervasive modesty standards for sexual communication, sexual display, sexual relations, and sexual behaviors. Sexual modesty influences an array of sexual and reproductive health outcomes. Many aspects of sexual modesty are enforced by legal as well as social, cultural, and religious proscriptions, including social shaming and ostracism as well as corporal and capital punishments. The purpose of this paper is to summarize a diverse literature related to sexual modesty from the years 2000 to 2021 in order to clarify its role in sexual health and sexual wellbeing and to identify directions for new research.
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Annual Review of CyberTherapy and Telemedicine (ARCTT – ISSN: 1554-8716) is one of the official journals of the International Association of CyberPsychology, Training, and Rehabilitation (iACToR). The journal is published annually (once per year) by the Interactive Media Institute (IMI) - a 501c3 non profit organization, dedicated to incorporating interdisciplinary researchers from around the world to create, test, and develop clinical protocols for the medical and psychological community - in cooperation with Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, hosting and maintaining this web site. ARCTT is an Open Access journal that does not charge readers or their institutions for access.
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. Losing a significant other to suicide increases the risks of depression and suicide. Fear of stigma, fatigue and lack of services may hinder the help-seeking behavior of suicide mourners, or “survivors”. The study aimed at exploring characteristics and needs of recent survivors seeking for help online and the pros and cons of the use of live-chats as a first-aid tool in bereavement support. A data-driven thematic analysis with the software ATLAS.ti was carried out on 20 live-chat conversations from the major Italian association providing free-of-charge online support. Socio-demographics details were retrieved from the transcripts. Three categories were explored: users’ features, users ‘requests and online interactions. The users were mainly women (18 of 20), partners, siblings, or parents of the deceased (11 of 20), aged between 24 and 56 years, who had lost their significant other between one day and 12 months before. Users expressed needs to receive practical information on how and where to find support and requests to be emotionally reassured. Features such as anonymity and accessibility were fondly appreciated. Live-chat services represent a safe space where survivors can obtain useful information and start processing their loss. Because of its anonymity and accessibility, a live-chat service may represent a valid first line of support and a tool for prevention of suicidal ideation. The strengths of the study reside in its ecology: differently from a simulated user study, this analysis stems from a real context of emergency.
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The primary aim of this systematic review and meta-analysis was to examine the prevalence of technology-facilitated sexual violence (TFSV) within the adolescent and adult population regarding victimization and perpetration. In addition to the primary aim, associated health outcomes with TFSV were discussed through a qualitative lens. Specific forms of TFSV that were examined include distribution of, production of, and threats to distribute sexual material involving another individual without that person's consent via images or videos; 425 articles from MEDLINE, PsycArticles, PsycINFO, Criminal Justice Abstracts, ProQuest Dissertations & Theses, and Google Scholar were screened. Nineteen articles (comprising 20 independent samples) reporting prevalence rates of TFSV on 32,247 participants were included in this random-effects meta-analysis. Pooled prevalence of victimization results revealed that 8.8% of people have had their image or video-based sexts shared without consent, 7.2% have been threatened with sext distribution, and 17.6% have had their image taken without permission. Regarding perpetration, 12% have shared sexts beyond the intended recipient, 2.7% have threatened to share sexts, and 8.9% have nonconsensually taken an image. Moderator variables included publication year, mean participant age, proportion of female participants, and study setting, with meta-regression analyses revealing no significant predictors. Finally, a qualitative analysis of nine articles (n = 3,990) was conducted to assess mental health associations with TFSV victimization, revealing significant mental health impacts, including anxiety, depression, and poor coping, for victims.
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The influence of information communication technology has brought about the phenomenon of sexting. Sexting is defined as sending, receiving, or forwarding on sexually explicit messages and images via the Internet or a mobile phone. The current study investigated relationships between sexting, sensation seeking, and self-esteem. Sexting was categorized in six ways: sending (1) sexually suggestive photos or videos, (2) photos or videos wearing lingerie, (3) nude photos or videos, (4) sexually suggestive text messages, (5) text messages propositioning sex, and (6) forwarding on or showing others sexts which were meant to be kept private. The sample comprised 583 young adults (80% female, M age = 20.72 years, SD age = 2.13) who participated in an online survey. The strongest predictor of sending all types of sexts was being in a relationship (compared to being single). In addition, high self-esteem was associated with reduced odds of sending nude photos/videos, while high sensation seeking was associated with increased odds of sending suggestive texts and texts propositioning sex. Finally, high self-esteem was associated with decreased odds, and high sensation seeking with increased odds, of forwarding on sexts which were meant to be kept private. This pattern of associations points to differences underlying engagement in the various types of sexting behaviors. Such information can be used by educators, parents, and clinicians to raise awareness of traits which make an individual more likely to engage in sexting, with a view to prevention and education about the risks of sexting and violation of privacy.
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The potential emotional and legal consequences of adolescents' engagement in sending sexually explicit pictures through the internet or the mobile phone (i.e., sexting) have caused significant concern about the behavior among practitioners and academics. The present study compares the characteristics of students who engage in sexting to those who do not. A survey among 1028 adolescents of 11 secondary schools in Belgium was administered. Logistic regression analyses suggest that sexting is significantly linked with sensation seeking, experiential thinking styles and depression, while controlling for gender, age, family status and students' response to economic stress. The results are of importance to practitioners who could adapt their prevention and intervention campaigns to better reach this complex youth. Differences with the findings of previous studies highlight the importance of continuing research on sexting and the need to pay attention to the specific context in which adolescent sexting takes place.
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Four studies examined the construct validity of two global self-esteem measures. In Studies 1 through 3, the Single-Item Self-Esteem Scale (SISE) and the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (RSE) showed strong convergent validity for men and women, for different ethnic groups, and for both college students and community members. The SISE and the RSE had nearly identical correlations with a wide range of criterion measures, including domain-specific self-evaluations, self-evaluative biases, social desirability, personality, psychological and physical health, peer ratings of group behavior, academic outcomes, and demographic variables. Study 4 showed that the SISE had only moderate convergent validity in a sample of children. Overall, the findings support the reliability and validity of the SISE and suggest it can provide a practical alternative to the RSE in adult samples. More generally, the findings contribute to the research literature by further elaborating the nomological network of global self-esteem.
Article
Concerns about sexting are increasingly prevalent in mainstream and academic media despite limited and inconsistent research findings about the practice. Much of this discourse centers around harm and sexting is commonly considered to be a risky behavior. A driving factor in these discussions is the apparent conflation of consensual and nonconsensual acts or sexting behaviors. A systematic review was conducted to determine the extent to which consensual and nonconsensual acts were conflated in the legal, educational, and psychological literatures on sexting, and how nonconsensual sexting was conceptualized within these disciplines. Definitions of sexting varied widely with regard to the inclusion or exclusion of nonconsensual acts. Nonconsensual acts were conceptualized in the following ways: as a risk of sexing, as being the fault of the victim, as bullying, or as a form of violence against women. Implications for research and practice are discussed.
Article
In this study, we examined the relationships between sexting coercion, physical sex coercion, intimate partner violence, and mental health and trauma symptoms within a sample of 480 young adult undergraduates (160 men and 320 women). Approximately one fifth of the sample indicated that they had engaged in sexting when they did not want to. Those who had been coerced into sexting had usually been coerced by subtler tactics (e.g., repeated asking and being made to feel obligated) than more severe forms of coercion (e.g., physical threats). Nevertheless, the trauma related to these acts of coercion both at the time they occurred and now (looking back) were greater for sexting coercion than for physical sex coercion. Moreover, women noted significantly more trauma now (looking back) than at the time the events occurred for sexting coercion. Additionally, those who experienced more instances of sexting coercion also endorsed more symptoms of anxiety, depression, and generalized trauma. Finally, sexting coercion was related to both physical sex coercion and intimate partner violence, which suggests that sexting coercion may be a form of intimate partner violence, providing perpetrators with a new, digital route for physical and sexual covictimization.
Article
Young people's use of technology as a tool for the negotiation of their sexual identities and encounters has increasingly become a focal point in popular and scholarly discussion. Much of this debate centres on the sending of explicit sexual images and/or video (‘selfies’ or ‘sexting’) by mobile phone, email or social media. In Australia and elsewhere, legislative frameworks have arguably over-regulated or criminalised young people's consensual, digital, sexual communications. Equally, the law has failed to respond to the harm that is experienced by victims of non-consensual making and/or distribution of such sexual images. In this paper, we examine the non-consensual creation and distribution of sexual images in the context of harassment, stalking and family or intimate violence. We argue that harmful digital communications are often framed as a problem of user naiveté rather than gender-based violence. Moreover, we argue that current legal and policy approaches fail to adequately capture the social and psychological harm that results from the use of sexual imagery to harass, coerce or blackmail women. We draw on preliminary data from a larger project investigating adult women's experiences of technology-mediated sexual violence and harassment.
Article
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.
Article
Heightened psychosocial stress coupled with maladaptive coping may be associated with greater sexual risk engagement. This study examined the association between stress levels and coping strategy use as predictors of sexual risk behavior engagement over 24 months among African-American adolescent females (N = 701; M = 17.6 years) enrolled in an STI/HIV risk-reduction intervention program. Participants completed audio computer assisted self-interview (ACASI) measures of global stress, interpersonal stress, coping strategy use, and sexual behaviors prior to intervention participation. Follow-up ACASI assessments were conducted at 6, 12, 18, and 24 months post-intervention. Generalized estimated equation models examined associations between baseline stress levels and coping strategy use as predictors of condom use (past 90 days, last sex) and multiple partners during follow-up. Global stress and individual coping strategy usage were not associated with differences in condom use. Higher interpersonal stress was associated with lower proportion condom use (p = .018), inconsistent condom use (p = .011), and not using a condom at last sex (p = .002). There were no significant associations between stress levels, coping strategy use, and multiple partners. Future research should explore mechanisms that may underlie the association between elevated interpersonal stress and decreased condom use among this population.
Article
A wide body of research has examined unwanted but consensual sex in a face-to-face context, focusing on intercourse, petting, kissing, and other sexual activity that people consent to even though they do not want to. Recent research has shown many people engage in sexual interactions via computer-mediated mediums; yet, to date, there are no studies that have investigated whether unwanted but consensual sexual activity exists in these contexts. In this study, we examined the extent to which 93 women and 62 men had consented to unwanted sexting within committed relationships and the attachment characteristics and motivations that are associated with this behavior. Approximately one half of the sample (52.3%) had engaged in unwanted but consensual sexting with a committed partner, and most did so for flirtation, foreplay, to fulfill a partner’s needs, or for intimacy. Among men, neither of the attachment dimensions was related to unwanted but consensual sexting. However, among women, anxious attachment was significantly related to frequency of consenting to unwanted sexting, and consenting to avoid an argument was a mediator in the relationship between anxious attachment and consenting to unwanted sexting. These results are compared to previous work on unwanted but consensual sex, and future directions are discussed.
Article
The current study examines whether adolescents who report sexting exhibit more psychosocial health problems, compared to their non-sexting counterparts. Participants included 937 ethnically diverse male and female adolescents recruited and assessed from multiple high schools in southeast Texas. Measures included self-report of sexting, impulsivity, alcohol and drug use, and depression and anxiety symptoms. Teen sexting was significantly associated with symptoms of depression, impulsivity, and substance use. When adjusted for prior sexual behavior, age, gender, race/ethnicity, and parent education, sexting was only related to impulsivity and substance use. While teen sexting appears to correlate with impulsive and high-risk behaviors (substance use), we did not find sexting to be a marker of mental health.
Article
The purpose of this study was to assess the prevalence of sexting among sixth through twelfth grade students and its correlations with other risk behaviors. The survey was conducted in 35 different schools in a midwestern state. Overall, 17% of students engaged in sexting, which varied significantly by age (3% of 12-year-olds to 32% of 18-year-olds). Adjusted odds ratios found statistically significant correlations between sexting and sexual behaviors, substance use behaviors, emotional health behaviors, and time spent texting. Sexting should be addressed by parents, teachers, and mental health professionals who interact with adolescents.
Article
Purpose: 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. Methods: 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. Results: 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. Conclusions: 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.
Article
In this study, self-esteem refers to feelings of satisfaction a person has about himself which reflect the relationship between his self-image and his ideal self-image. Different measures of self-esteem, related to this definition, were studied in a sample of 44 late adolescent Ss. Test measures and interview assessment of self-esteem met certain criteria of validity as outlined by Campbell and Fiske. Clinical configurations of self-esteem, including defensive aspects, are described and related to the test measures. (35 ref.) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
A hierarchical facet model of self-esteem proposed by R. J. Shavelson et al (see record 1978-30429-001) was partially tested in a previous study by J. S. Fleming and W. A. Watts (see record 1981-28061-001). Their 3 factors, which were labeled Self-Regard, Social Confidence, and School Abilities, corresponded to 3 of the 4 dimensions posited by Shavelson et al. Predictions of other individual-difference variables from these factors were also tested by correlational analysis. Improvements to the instrument led to a replication of their 3 factors plus 2 predicted physical factors: Physical Appearance and Physical Abilities. In the present study, with 259 undergraduates, a 2nd-order factor analysis yielded a single, superordinate factor of global self-esteem, supporting the hierarchical interpretation of the facet model. Construct validity was further examined by replication of the correlational findings of Fleming and Watts and by correlations with other measures of personality and adjustment, including a global measure of self-esteem: the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale. The facet model as presently operationalized measures dimensions of relevance for the intended population, but these dimensions are not so broadly defined as to be redundant with related constructs. (65 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
“Sexting” refers to sending and receiving sexually suggestive images, videos, or texts on cell phones. As a means for maintaining or initiating a relationship, sexting behavior and attitudes may be understood through adult attachment theory. One hundred and twenty-eight participants (M=22 and F=106), aged 18–30years, completed an online questionnaire about their adult attachment styles and sexting behavior and attitudes. Attachment anxiety predicted sending texts that solicit sexual activity for those individuals in relationships. Attachment anxiety also predicted positive attitudes towards sexting such as accepting it as normal, that it will enhance the relationship, and that partners will expect sexting. Sexting may be a novel form for expressing attachment anxiety.
Article
To test the construct validity of the short-form version of the Depression anxiety and stress scale (DASS-21), and in particular, to assess whether stress as indexed by this measure is synonymous with negative affectivity (NA) or whether it represents a related, but distinct, construct. To provide normative data for the general adult population. Cross-sectional, correlational and confirmatory factor analysis (CFA). The DASS-21 was administered to a non-clinical sample, broadly representative of the general adult UK population (N = 1,794). Competing models of the latent structure of the DASS-21 were evaluated using CFA. The model with optimal fit (RCFI = 0.94) had a quadripartite structure, and consisted of a general factor of psychological distress plus orthogonal specific factors of depression, anxiety, and stress. This model was a significantly better fit than a competing model that tested the possibility that the Stress scale simply measures NA. The DASS-21 subscales can validly be used to measure the dimensions of depression, anxiety, and stress. However, each of these subscales also taps a more general dimension of psychological distress or NA. The utility of the measure is enhanced by the provision of normative data based on a large sample.
Senate Select Committee on Cyber-Safety
  • Law Council Of Australia
Law Council of Australia. (2013) Senate Select Committee on Cyber-Safety. Canberra, Australia.
Child's play or child pornography: the need for better laws regarding sexting
  • J Walker
  • S Moak
Walker J, Moak S. Child's play or child pornography: the need for better laws regarding sexting. ACJS Today 2014; 35:3-9.
Low risk associated with most teenage sexting: a study of 617 18-year-olds
  • E Englander
Englander E. Low risk associated with most teenage sexting: a study of 617 18-year-olds. Marc Research Reports 2012; Paper 6:1-12.