The Associations between Substance Use, Sexual Behavior, Deviant Behaviors and Adolescents’ Engagement in Sexting

Does Relationship Context Matter?

Joris Van Ouytsel, Michel Walrave, Yu Lu, Jeffrey Temple, Koen Ponnet

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

While prior research has identified multiple associations between engagement in sexting and risky behaviors, most existing studies do not take into account the contexts in which sexting occurs. The present study extends prior research by examining whether the associations between adolescents’ sexting behavior and engagement in substance use, sexual behaviors, and deviant behaviors differ depending on the relational context (within or outside of a romantic relationship) in which young people engage in sexting. Results from a survey of 1187 secondary school students (61.3% girls, n = 728) between 16 and 22 years old (M = 17.82 years; SD = 0.88) revealed that sexting with a romantic partner is not a significant marker of engagement in risk behaviors. However, single youth who engage in sexting outside of a romantic relationship are more likely to report substance use, relative to their non-sexting counterparts. These findings underscore the need to use more nuanced measures to investigate sexting and for sexual education initiatives to integrate messages about substance use.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Youth and Adolescence
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2018

Fingerprint

Adolescent Behavior
deviant behavior
Sexual Behavior
adolescent
Risk-Taking
Research
Students
Education
risk behavior
secondary school
education
student
Surveys and Questionnaires

Keywords

  • Adolescents
  • Internet and abuse
  • Risk behaviors
  • Sexting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

Cite this

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title = "The Associations between Substance Use, Sexual Behavior, Deviant Behaviors and Adolescents’ Engagement in Sexting: Does Relationship Context Matter?",
abstract = "While prior research has identified multiple associations between engagement in sexting and risky behaviors, most existing studies do not take into account the contexts in which sexting occurs. The present study extends prior research by examining whether the associations between adolescents’ sexting behavior and engagement in substance use, sexual behaviors, and deviant behaviors differ depending on the relational context (within or outside of a romantic relationship) in which young people engage in sexting. Results from a survey of 1187 secondary school students (61.3{\%} girls, n = 728) between 16 and 22 years old (M = 17.82 years; SD = 0.88) revealed that sexting with a romantic partner is not a significant marker of engagement in risk behaviors. However, single youth who engage in sexting outside of a romantic relationship are more likely to report substance use, relative to their non-sexting counterparts. These findings underscore the need to use more nuanced measures to investigate sexting and for sexual education initiatives to integrate messages about substance use.",
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AU - Lu, Yu

AU - Temple, Jeffrey

AU - Ponnet, Koen

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