The relationship between dark triad personality traits and sexting behaviors among adolescents and young adults across 11 countries

Mara Morelli, Flavio Urbini, Dora Bianchi, Roberto Baiocco, Elena Cattelino, Fiorenzo Laghi, Piotr Sorokowski, Michal Misiak, Martyna Dziekan, Heather Hudson, Alexandra Marshall, Thanh Truc T. Nguyen, Lauren Mark, Kamil Kopecky, René Szotkowski, Ezgi Toplu Demirtaş, Joris Van Ouytsel, Koen Ponnet, Michel Walrave, Tingshao ZhuYa Chen, Nan Zhao, Xiaoqian Liu, Alexander Voiskounsky, Nataliya Bogacheva, Maria Ioannou, John Synnott, Kalliopi Tzani-Pepelasi, Vimala Balakrishnan, Moses Okumu, Eusebius Small, Silviya Pavlova Nikolova, Michelle Drouin, Antonio Chirumbolo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Background: Sexting is an increasingly common phenomenon among adolescents and young adults. Some studies have investigated the role of personality traits in different sexting behaviors within mainstream personality taxonomies like Big Five and HEXACO. However, very few studies have investigated the role of maladaptive personality factors in sexting. Therefore, the present study investigated the relationship between Dark Triad Personality Traits and experimental (i.e., sharing own sexts), risky (i.e., sexting under substance use and with strangers), and aggravated sexting (i.e., non-consensual sexting and sexting under pressure) across 11 countries. Methods: An online survey was completed by 6093 participants (Mage = 20.35; SDage = 3.63) from 11 different countries which covered four continents (Europe, Asia, Africa, and America). Participants completed the Sexting Behaviors Questionnaire and the 12-item Dark Triad Dirty Dozen scale. Results: Hierarchical regression analyses showed that sharing own sexts was positively predicted by Machiavellianism and Narcissism. Both risky and aggravated sexting were positively predicted by Machiavellianism and Psychopathy. Conclusions: The present study provided empirical evidence that different sexting behaviors were predicted by Dark Triad Personality Traits, showing a relevant role of Machiavellian-ism in all kinds of investigated sexting behaviors. Research, clinical, and education implications for prevention programs are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2526
Pages (from-to)1-25
Number of pages25
JournalInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 1 2021


  • Adolescents
  • Cross-country investigation
  • Dark triad traits
  • Personality
  • Sexting
  • Young adults

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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