Session: Understanding Sexting Behaviours: Risk and Protective Factors (Society for Prevention Research 27th Annual Meeting)

4-054 Understanding Sexting Behaviours: Risk and Protective Factors

Friday, May 31, 2019: 2:45 PM-4:15 PM
Grand Ballroom A (Hyatt Regency San Francisco)
Theme: Research, Policy, and Practice
Symposium Organizer:
Elizabeth Clancy
Bianca Klettke
The exponential increase in online behaviour and the ownership and usage of “smart devices” has resulted in increasing interest in “sexting”. Some forms of this behaviour, particularly coerced sexting, and non-consensual dissemination of sexts, may present specific concerns given potential legal, social and psychological consequences. The goal of this symposium is to present a series of papers that explore risk and protective factors associated with sexting, and in particular problematic sexting behaviours of non-consensual sexting and non-consensual sext dissemination. This symposium supports the conference theme of Advancing Prevention Science via Research, Policy and Practice. An understanding of risk and protective factors associated with non-consensual sexting behaviours is critical to informing interventions to address potential harms. This symposium brings together researchers exploring risk and protective factors associated with specific sexting behaviours in adolescence and emerging adulthood, across US and Australian cohorts.

The first paper, “Teen sexting and health risk behaviors: A meta-analysis” presents results based on 23 studies, involving over 40,000 adolescent participants, in regards to the relationship between adolescent sexting and sexual risk-taking behaviours. The authors conclude that sexting behaviours are associated with a range of health risk behaviours.

The second paper, “Consensual and Non-Consensual Sexting: Prevalence and Characteristics among US University Students”, focuses specifically on differentiation of consensual and non-consensual sexting experiences in a college sample, and relevant risk factors and individual differences. This study found that participation in consensual versus non-consensual sexting varies by gender, athletic and Greek Life participation, as well as sexual media use.

The third paper, “The dark side of sexting: factors predicting the dissemination of sexts”, explores associations between non-consensual sext dissemination and individual behaviours, attitudes and norms towards sexting and personality variables. Increased likelihood of dissemination was associated with sexual activity, normalization and positive attitudes towards sext dissemination, whilst the only unique predictor of decreased likelihood was personal negative experiences from sending sexts, suggesting a focus for intervention studies.

In conclusion, the discussant will make some summary statements and moderate a discussion between presenters and attendees regarding risk and protective factors and possible explanatory mechanisms for non-consensual sexting and sext dissemination, and directions for future research and development of targeted intervention strategies to address identified harms.

* noted as presenting author
The Dark Side of Sexting: Factors Predicting the Dissemination of Sexts
Elizabeth Clancy, MPsych, Deakin University; Bianca Klettke, PhD, Deakin University; David J. Hallford, DClinPsych, Deakin University
Teen Sexting and Health Risk Behaviors: A Meta-Analysis
Jeffrey Temple, PhD, University of Texas Medical Branch; Camille Mori, BA, University of Calgary; Dillon Browne, PhD, University of Waterloo; Sheri Madigan, Ph.D, University of Calgary
Consensual and Non-Consensual Sexting: Prevalence and Characteristics Among US University Students
Megan K. Maas, Ph.D, Michigan State University; Kyla M. Cary, MS, Michigan State University