Original article| Volume 63, ISSUE 5, P608-614, November 2018

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“Sex Pics?”: Longitudinal Predictors of Sexting Among Adolescents



      To analyze the longitudinal relationships of demographic characteristics (i.e., sex, age, and sexual orientation), personality traits according to the Big Five model, and several indicators of psychological adjustment (i.e., depression symptoms, self-esteem, and problematic Internet use) with sexting behavior among adolescents over 1 year.


      A total of 1,208 adolescents (638 girls; mean age = 13.57, SD = 1.09) completed measures at baseline and after 1 year of follow-up. The relationships among variables were examined using structural equation modeling.


      Out of the sample, 10.7% and 19.2% of adolescents reported producing and sending sexual content at time 1 (T1) and time 2 (T2), respectively. Higher ages at T1 predicted more engagement in sexting at T2. Less conscientiousness and more extraversion at T1 increased T2 sexting. Finally, more depressive symptoms at T1 predicted more sexting at T2.


      Sexting increases significantly over the course of adolescence. Educational efforts should pay attention to demographic and psychological characteristics of adolescents to tailor preventive programs and prevent possible negative outcomes of engaging in sexting.


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