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Try out PMC Labs and tell us what you think. Learn More. The practice of creating and sharing sexual images via technological devices, known as sexting, has received crescent attention in the past years, especially due to the increase of adolescent engagement in this behavior.
Although consensual sexting is not prima facie a crime, as some research has shown, it has the potential to be a risky behavior, and a threshold to get exposure to dangerous kinds of nude european teens as sextortion, online grooming or cyberbullying. In this context, teenagers represent a vulnerable group due to their limited ability of self-regulation, their high susceptibility to peer pressure, their technophilia, and their growing sexual curiosity.
The present paper aims to review the scientific literature to analyze the relationship between mental health and sexting as a potentially risky behavior and its association with online victimization. The and implications will be discussed.
Therefore, it has been diversely defined, including from broad definitions that include the sending of any kind of sexual content to narrower definitions, which are image-based only [ 3 ]. Some authors include coercion as part of the sexting behavior [ 4 ], while others consider that sexting is voluntary by definition [ 5 ]; some definitions include sending text messages non-image based as part of the sexting behaviors [ 67 ], while others exclude them from the definition [ 89 ].
The existing literature on sexting also differs in the population samples used for the research teens vs.
The research on sexting has widely grown over the past few years, especially regarding adolescents and the negative effect it might have on their sexual development and mental health, specifically after the publication of the Sex and Tech Surveywhich was the first broad survey to examine this phenomenon [ 1011 ]. Although sexting is a common behavior among the adolescent and young population, the deviance discourse seems to have more scientific support than the nude european teens discourse.
For example, a recent meta-analysis published by Kosenko et al. Similarly, a recent meta-analysis by Mori, Temple, Browne, and Madigan [ 17 ] has indicated that sexting behaviors were ificantly associated with sexual behaviors, such as sexual activity, having more than one sexual partner, and lack of contraception use.
It was also found that sexting behaviors and internalizing problems, such as anxiety and depression, were ificantly associated. Importantly, the younger the adolescents, the stronger the observed association. Klettke et al. Furthermore, research highlights an existing relationship between mental health or psychological health and online victimization behaviors, such as cyberbullying, online dating violence or revenge porn [ 18192021 ], which are closely related to sexting [ 5152223 ].
Several studies have identified a relationship between cyberbullying and sexting behaviors [ 2425 ]. Fahy et al. Their show that cyber-victims and cyberbully-victims were ificantly more likely to report symptoms of depression and social anxiety. According to theseit would be expected that sexting behaviors as a form of victimization might also be related to a higher likelihood of reporting depressive and anxiety symptoms. Nude european teens the same line of reasoning, research findings indicate that a higher degree of depressive symptoms is associated with greater Internet use [ 2627 ], and a more frequent and problematic internet use is associated with higher rates of sexting behavior [ 2728 ].
Therefore, it would be reasonable to hypothesize that higher engagement in sexting behaviors might predict higher rates of depressive symptoms.
Considering the increasing of suicides related to sexting [ 29 ], the relationship between sexting and mental health seems of particular interest, even though up to date are somewhat mixed [ 1829 ]. A few studies have investigated personality traits and their relationship with sexting [ 230 ]; others have explored the relationship between sexting and sexual risky behaviors or substance abuse and emotional problems [ 8313233 nude european teens.
However, only a few studies have investigated the relationship between negative mental health symptoms and sexting [ 43435 ]. Discrepancies found in the literature may be due to differences in the definition of sexting, its measurement, methodologies or even due to the difference between those teens that sext consensually versus those who are pressured into sexting [ 2936 ]. Aggravated sexting behaviors encompass all types of sexting that may involve criminal or abusive elements beyond the creation, sending or possession of youth-produced sexual content, including 1 adult involvement; or 2 criminal or abusive behavior by minors.
On the other hand, experimental sexting behaviors comprise those instances that do not include abuse or coercion, whereby teens voluntarily took pictures of themselves to create flirting or romantic interest in others. The main research questions this narrative review seeks to answer is: Is there a relationship between teen sexting behaviors and mental health? And, if so, which negative mental health impacts have been found when teens engage in sexting behaviors? Considering this, the present study aims to review research studies which have explored mental health variables associated with sexting behaviors and whether a ificant relationship between sexting and negative mental health symptoms has been found.
If sexting were found to have a negative mental health impact on adolescents, these could have important implications to inform prevention campaigns targeted at schools, parents, educational communities, nude european teens healthcare providers. In years, the body of research regarding sexting behaviors has increased dramatically, especially research focused on adolescent and teenage population.
As such, several studies have highlighted that sexting behaviors increase as adolescents grow older [ 210 ]. Furthermore, an extended body of literature suggests that some sexting behaviors e. On the other hand, the of studies exploring the relationship between sexting and psychological variables has been growing in the past years, focusing especially on young adults or adult population [ 21828 ], even though up to date there have been no conclusive on the matter. For this reason, this narrative review aims to identify both empirical and non-empirical research addressing the relationship between sexting behaviors among teenagers and mental health.
We consider this topic to be of considerable relevance to parents, the education community, nude european teens health care practitioners working with young people who engage in this behavior. Research either empirical or non-empirical but excluding doctoral dissertations exploring sexting behaviors amongst adolescent population between the ages of 10 and 21 years old.
Examination of the relationship between sexting behaviors and mental health variables either as predictors or as consequences. In addition, reference lists of reviewed articles were examined in relation to the topic of search, such as the one found in [ 29 ]. Keeping in mind the extensive body of existing literature and the continually changing nature of online media technology-related research, the review was restricted to search literature published between January and Marchwritten either in English or Spanish, and appearing in peer-reviewed journals.
The search was conducted in April A visual summary of the process is presented as a flow chart in Figure 1. As exclusion criteria, those articles that did not include the review topics in their abstracts or were not directly related to the topic were excluded from the review. For instance, studies investigating sexting prevalence or mental health variables in adults, or mental health variables associated to other forms of victimization, such as bullying, were excluded. The initial bibliographic database search produced articles.
In addition to this, 19 articles were added following hand-searches through reference lists. These articles were included in the first review and were screened by title and abstract.
A total of articles were excluded for not meeting the inclusion criteria, as they did not address the key areas of interest. The remaining 93 articles were then assessed for eligibility based on their full text. At this point, any articles that focused on mental health related to nude european teens in an adult population were excluded.
Similarly, articles were excluded if they focused on information regarding new technologies, social media, sexting or cyberbullying in teenage population but did not relate to mental health. Finally, given the wide amount of international literature based on legal aspects of sexting, articles relating to this topic were excluded. This led to the exclusion of 63 more articles, for not meeting the relevant search areas. In total, 30 studies were identified for inclusion in this review.
The shown by Mitchell et al. For example, made you feel uncomfortable, upset, or feel that you should not have seen it? Subjects who were younger, female, less sensation seeking, had pre-existing psychological difficulties and used the Internet less, were more likely to experience harm from the message. The details of the studies included in the review can be found in Table 1.
In addition, they found that high self-esteem was negatively associated with having sent or showed sexual pictures, and for female teens, showed a ificant association between sexting and depressive symptomatology. Brinkley et al. Their supported the hypothesis that sexting at age 16 would be associated with borderline nude european teens feature at age In addition, the authors affirm that their findings suggest that sexting may contribute to psychological distress for adolescents.
Following thesemany investigations have linked sexting behaviors to impulsivity and substance abuse problems. This author considers sexting to be either a manifestation or moderator of problematic sexual behavior. On the other hand, Judge [ 39 ] defines sexting as an emotionally-driven behavior, that is often related to impulsivity and a lack of anticipation of adverse consequences. Englander [ 4 ], on the other hand, distinguished between pressured-sexters and non-pressured sexters, and her show that pressured-sexters were more likely to report having problems during high school with excessive anxiety, although were not statistically ificant.
Along the same line, Temple et al. In their study, they evaluated teens from Texas public high schools on rating scales for depression, anxiety, impulsivity, and a positive response for a history of substance use. Their show that subjects who had sent naked pictures of themselves to someone else through text or were more likely to score higher on scales of depression and impulsivity, as well as more likely to report a history of substance use.
When considering research regarding sexting and depression, specifically, the vast majority of studies have found a positive association between depressive symptoms and sexting behaviors. Out of a total of 14 publications addressing this issue, 12 found a positive association between sexting behaviors and depressive symptoms [ 46 nude european teens, 2429313435363841424345 ].
Their showed that being depressed, having contemplated or attempted suicide in the past year, or having been cyber or indirectly bullied were ificantly correlated with sexting. Similarly, Van Ouytsel et al. These are in line with those found by Chaudhary et al. In addition, Bauman [ 39 ] in a book chapter regarding sexting and cyberbullying and mental health consequences, explains that young people involved in sexting had higher rates of suicidal thoughts than those who were not involved, and they also showed higher rates of high-risk behavior.
At the same time, they found that teens who presented greater depressive symptoms were more likely to participate in sexting behaviors over time. Findings suggested a ificant association between sexting behaviors and suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts, depressive symptoms, and feelings of sadness [ 31 ]. Teenage boys and girls who engaged in sexting behaviors showed a higher risk of reporting suicidal thoughts even after controlling for cyber victimization and depression [ 28 ]. One explanation for this relationship has been suggested by Medrano et al.
The exchange of intimate photos or videos increases the risk of being victimized, not only by the direct sender of the image-based sexual content but by anyone who might have access to it, as teens might find themselves involuntarily exposed to unwanted sexual content [ 28 ]. However, some research has found no association between mental health symptoms and sexting behavior.
Morelli and colleagues [ 6 ] conducted a study with teens and young adults between the ages of 13 and 30 years old, trying to assess the relationship between sexting, psychological distress, and online dating violence. Their showed that a higher engagement in sexting was associated to a higher likelihood of offline and online dating violence. Moreover, their findings show no differences in psychological distress between people who sexted frequently and nude european teens who did not. Further, no relationship was found between sexting behaviors and symptoms of anxiety or depression.
Finally, recent research conducted by Klettke and colleagues [ 45 ] based on young Australian and Indian adults did not find nude european teens association between the sending of sexts, depression, or anxiety. However, higher levels of stress were ificantly associated with the sending of sexts. Regarding gender, for males overall, higher levels of stress and lower levels of depression were associated with sending sexts, while for females, there were no associations with mental health variables.
In terms of cultural differences, higher levels of stress were associated with sending sexts for participants overall, and for Indian respondents, but not Australians when analyzed separately. One explanation for why some studies have not found an association may be due to the level of consent. Frankel et al. Their show a correlation between consensual sexting and alcohol and tobacco use, being cyber-bullied and reporting both depressive symptoms and suicide attempts, especially in male respondents.
Moreover, they found that non-consensual sexting was more prevalent among students who reported serious depressive symptoms, attempting suicide and self-harm. Similar to the observed regarding the analysis of the relationship between sexting behaviors and depression, the existing literature was reviewed to explore the relationship between sexting behaviors and symptoms of anxiety. Research exclusively investigating the relationship between these two variables is scarce; however, the majority of studies have found an existing relationship between the two variables. Out of a total of eight studies [ 46243640414245 ] seven studies found a positive association between sexting behaviors and symptoms of anxiety.
For example, Chaudhary and colleagues [ 40 ] found that youth who reported having engaged in sexting behaviors, based on teens, were ificantly more likely to report symptomatology of anxiety. Similarly, Cooper et al. Finally, Klettke and colleagues [ 36 ] collected data from a sample comprising late teens and found that receiving unwanted sexts and sending sexts under coercion was associated with poor mental health; they found that, especially, when receiving or sending unwanted but consensual sexts, respondents reported higher levels of depression, anxiety, stress, and lower self-esteem.
Research on sexting has grown widely over the past few years, especially regarding adolescents and the negative effect it might have on their sexual development and mental health, and specifically after the publication of the Sex and Tech Survey [ 1011 ]. Many studies have defined sexting as a form of victimization and have highlighted the potential for a relationship between victimization and mental health or psychological health and other online victimization behaviors, such as nude european teens, online dating violence or revenge porn [ 18192021 ].
This review gathered the existing literature published from January to March that fit under the inclusion criteria 30 articlesto explore the relationship between sexting and mental health variables in the adolescent population. The relationship between these variables will be of interest to parents, educators, and the health care community to have a deeper understanding of the phenomena, so that appropriate prevention plans and campaigns, as well as intervention programs, can be developed and put into motion.Nude european teens
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