Adolescent sexting from a social learning perspective

Joris Van Ouytsel, Koen Ponnet, Michel Walrave, Leen D'Haenens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study is to analyze which components of the social learning theory are associated with adolescents' engagement in sexting among a sample of 357 respondents. Additionally, we distinguish between two types of online sexual self-disclosure: sexting within and outside of a romantic relationship. The results indicate that the extent to which adolescents hold positive attitudes towards the behavior and the extent to which they perceive that their peers approve of sexting, are associated with their engagement in sexting both within and outside of a romantic relationship, when controlling for age, gender, school track and internet use. Sexting outside of a romantic relationship was also influenced by the thrill that young people get out of engaging in this behavior. The discussion addresses the implications of these findings for prevention programs, practice and future research, such as the necessity for future studies to ask with whom participants have engaged in sexting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)287-298
Number of pages12
JournalTelematics and Informatics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Adolescents
  • Sexting
  • Sexual education
  • Sexual risk behavior
  • Social learning theory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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