Multiple forms of sexting and associations with psychosocial health in early adolescents

Yu Lu, Elizabeth Baumler, Jeff R. Temple

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

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 middleschools 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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2760
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Volume18
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2021

Keywords

  • Early adolescents
  • Psychosocial health
  • Sexting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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