Sexting and sexual behaviour in Australian adolescents

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Falconer, Tasha A ORCID: 0000-0003-4308-5772, Kauer, Sylvia and Fisher, Christopher ORCID: 0000-0001-8757-0847 (2022) Sexting and sexual behaviour in Australian adolescents. Sexual health, 20 (1). pp. 57-63. ISSN 1448-5028


BACKGROUND: Previous studies have tried to determine the relationship between sexting and risky behaviour to discover whether sexting fits into a deviance or normalcy discourse. This study investigated the relationship between sexting and sexual risk behaviours, contraception use and gender. METHODS: The design was a cross-sectional analysis of data from the sixth National Survey of Secondary Student and Adolescent Sexual Health, collected in 2018. There were 8263 Australian adolescents (aged 14-18years). Participants were fairly evenly split by gender, and 73% identified as heterosexual. Participants were asked a series of questions about their engagement in sexting, sexual behaviour and sexual health behaviours. RESULTS: A total of 52% of participants had sent a sext in the previous 2months, with most being text-based sexts. Sexters were 3.29times more likely to have engaged in anal or vaginal intercourse, and 2.88times more likely to have gotten pregnant than non-sexters. Sexters (M =2.76) had significantly more partners than non-sexters (M =2.35), t (3763)=-10.99, P X 2 (1)=0.38, P =0.535, or contraceptive use based on sexting status. CONCLUSIONS: Sexters are more likely to have engaged in sexual intercourse and have more partners than non-sexters. Sexting is not strongly associated with other risky behaviours. Evidence for differences between sexters and non-sexters in protecting against STIs and pregnancy was not found, as there were no significant differences in contraceptive use.

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Item type Article
DOI 10.1071/SH22129
Official URL
Subjects Current > FOR (2020) Classification > 3904 Specialist studies in education
Current > Division/Research > College of Health and Biomedicine
Keywords adolescent socialization, sexting, sexual behavior, Australia
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