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Prevalence and predictors of sexting among early adolescents in Sweden

Conference contribution
Authors Jonas Burén
Carolina Lunde
Published in 18th Conference of the European Association of Developmental Psychology (EADP). Utrecht, The Netherlands: 29 August - 1 september 2017
Publication year 2017
Published at Department of Psychology
Language en
Subject categories Psychology


Sexting, here referring to sending nude or sexually explicit images or videos, appears to be fairly common among late adolescents. However, very few studies have focused on sexting among younger adolescents. The purpose of this study was to examine the prevalence of sexting among Swedish high school students, and the links between different psychosocial factors (social support from family and peers, offline- and online peer victimization) and sexting in this age group. In total, 916 adolescents from Swedish high-schools (grade 7 to 9, 13 – 16 years) completed a survey about sexting. The study showed that for both boys and girls it was more common to receive and to send sexts among older high school students (figure 1 and 2). Hierarchical binary logistic regression showed that, for boys, age, social support and online peer victimization emerged as significant predictors of both receiving and sending sexts. For girls, only age and online victimization emerged as a significant predictor of receiving and sending sexts. These predictors remained significant after controlling for age, family income, school satisfaction and subjective well-being in subsequent steps (see Table 1 and 2). In sum, the present study indicates that sexting is quite common also among younger adolescents. For both girls and boys, sexting seems to be increasing with age, and is linked to adverse online experiences with peers. From the present study, it also seems important to direct attention towards the role of social support for boys’ experiences of sexting. The findings will be further discussed from the viewpoint of adolescent development and the current knowledge about adolescent sexting.

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