Brief report: The association between adolescents' characteristics and engagement in sexting

Joris Van Ouytsel, Ellen Van Gool, Koen Ponnet, Michel Walrave

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

112 Scopus citations


The potential emotional and legal consequences of adolescents' engagement in sending sexually explicit pictures through the internet or the mobile phone (i.e., sexting) have caused significant concern about the behavior among practitioners and academics. The present study compares the characteristics of students who engage in sexting to those who do not. A survey among 1028 adolescents of 11 secondary schools in Belgium was administered. Logistic regression analyses suggest that sexting is significantly linked with sensation seeking, experiential thinking styles and depression, while controlling for gender, age, family status and students' response to economic stress. The results are of importance to practitioners who could adapt their prevention and intervention campaigns to better reach this complex youth. Differences with the findings of previous studies highlight the importance of continuing research on sexting and the need to pay attention to the specific context in which adolescent sexting takes place.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1387-1391
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Adolescence
Issue number8
StatePublished - Dec 1 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Adolescents
  • Depression
  • Personality traits
  • Rational and experiential thinking
  • Sensation seeking
  • Teen sexting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Social Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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