This study examined the extent to which active and passive sexting behaviors are associated with family-, school-, peer-, and romantic-level variables. Young people (N = 3,322; 49.1% female, 48.3% male, 2.6% other) aged 11 to 15 years old (M = 12.84, SD = 0.89) took part, and all attended mainstream secondary schools in Scotland. Participants completed self-report measures of school connectedness, parental love and support, perceived susceptibility to peer- and romantic-pressure (e.g., to display behaviors just to impress others), and their involvement in active and passive sexting. The importance of both school- and family-level factors was evident, though perceived romantic-pressure had the largest effect. However, neither school- nor family-level variables were moderated by either perceived romantic-pressure or perceived peer-pressure. Efforts to reduce sexting or increase its safety should primarily seek to tackle young people’s ability to respond effectively to romantic-pressure. It may also be helpful to develop school connectedness and to help families provide support that is constructive and not intrusive.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was supported by Police Scotland’s Violence Reduction Unit. The sponsor had no role to play in study design; in the collection, analysis and interpretation of data; nor in the writing of the report. A final version of the article was passed to the sponsor prior to submission, and no changes or concerns were raised at that point.
© 2021, The Author(s).
- School connectedness