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How Are Consensual, Non-Consensual, and Pressured Sexting Linked to Depression and Self-Harm? The Moderating Effects of Demographic Variables

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Department of Educational Studies, University of Potsdam, 14476 Potsdam, Germany
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National Anti-Bullying Research and Resource Centre, Dublin City University, C109 Dublin, Ireland
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Department of Psychology, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802, USA
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Department of Psychology, DePaul University, 1 E. Jackson, Chicago, IL 60604, USA
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Department of Biological and Health Psychology, Autonomous University of Madrid, 28049 Madrid, Spain
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Department of Media and Communication Science, Ilmenau University of Technology, 98693 Ilmenau, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Rosario Del Rey, Walrave Michel, Joris Van Ouytsel and Mónica Ojeda
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(5), 2597; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18052597
Received: 13 January 2021 / Revised: 24 February 2021 / Accepted: 1 March 2021 / Published: 5 March 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Sexting: Links and Answers)
Sexting among adolescents has triggered controversial debates among scholars and the general public. However, questions regarding the associations between different types of sexting, namely consensual, non-consensual, and pressured sexting, depressive symptoms, and non-suicidal self-harm remain. In addition, little attention has been given to whether demographic variables (i.e., gender, ethnicity, disability, sexual minority) might influence these associations. To fill these gaps in the literature, the present study was conducted. Participants were 2506 adolescents (ages 13–16 years old; Mage = 15.17; SDage = 0.89) from eight high schools located in the suburbs of a large Midwestern city in the United States. Adolescents self-identified as female (50%), Caucasian (57%), approximately 15% reported that they had a disability they received school accommodation for, and 18% self-identified as a sexual minority. They completed self-report questionnaires on their sexting behaviors, depressive symptoms, and non-suicidal self-harm. Findings revealed that non-consensual and pressured sexting were positively related to depressive symptoms and non-suicidal self-harm, whereas consensual sexting was unrelated to these outcomes. Boys engaged in more non-consensual sexting compared with girls, girls were more pressured to send sexts compared with boys, and sexual minority adolescents reported greater consensual sexting compared with non-sexual minority adolescents. Moderating effects revealed that girls, non-minority adolescents, and non-sexual minority adolescents experienced greater depressive symptoms and non-suicidal self-harm when they experienced pressured sexting. These findings underscore the importance of considering various types of sexting and adolescents’ demographic variables when examining the negative outcomes of sexting. Disentangling the relationships among different types of sexting, depressive symptoms, and self-harm aids in the development of evidence-based recommendations for sexting harm prevention and sexual education programs. View Full-Text
Keywords: sexting; depression; self-harm; non-consensual; pressured sexting; normalcy discourse sexting; depression; self-harm; non-consensual; pressured sexting; normalcy discourse
MDPI and ACS Style

Wachs, S.; Wright, M.F.; Gámez-Guadix, M.; Döring, N. How Are Consensual, Non-Consensual, and Pressured Sexting Linked to Depression and Self-Harm? The Moderating Effects of Demographic Variables. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18, 2597. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18052597

AMA Style

Wachs S, Wright MF, Gámez-Guadix M, Döring N. How Are Consensual, Non-Consensual, and Pressured Sexting Linked to Depression and Self-Harm? The Moderating Effects of Demographic Variables. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2021; 18(5):2597. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18052597

Chicago/Turabian Style

Wachs, Sebastian, Michelle F. Wright, Manuel Gámez-Guadix, and Nicola Döring. 2021. "How Are Consensual, Non-Consensual, and Pressured Sexting Linked to Depression and Self-Harm? The Moderating Effects of Demographic Variables" International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 18, no. 5: 2597. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18052597

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