Middle school sexting and sexual activity
Background: Recent literature links sexting (i.e., sending/receiving sexually-explicit cellular texts or images) and adolescent sexual risk behavior. To the best of our knowledge, no study to date has explored this connection within a middle school population. Methodology: Utilizing a probability sample of 1186 middle school students, a supplemental questionnaire was administered concurrently with the 2011 YRBS in Los Angeles public schools. Logistic regressions assessed the impact of demographics and technology use on sexting behaviors and sexual behaviors. Results: Of respondents with text-capable phones (73%), 19% reported having received a sext, 5% sent a sext, and 12% reported a history of sexual activity (i.e., oral, anal, or vaginal sex). Of those who are sexually active, one-third reported unprotected sex at last sex. Logistic regressions indicate that an older age, identifying as male, Black, and a higher text frequency, all increase the odds of receiving sexts. Middle schoolers who are older, male, identify as non-heterosexual, and exchange over 100 texts per day are significantly more likely to report sending sexts. The odds of being sexually active are higher if an adolescent is male, sends more texts, and has received sexts. Those reporting both sending and receiving sexts had 25 times the odds of being sexually active compared to those not sexting. Conclusion: Middle school students who sext and engage in frequent texting are at increased odds of being sexually active. Sexting should be discussed with young adolescents within the context of their school health education, pediatrician visits, and with their parents.
Social and behavioral sciences
Assess the characteristics of middle school students who sext.
Analyze sexting behavior with middle school students’ sexual activity and associated condom use.
Keyword(s): Sexual Risk Behavior, Adolescents
Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a phd student in Social Work and Social research, and besides being very familiar with proper and ethical procedures for research, I have completed coursework on statistical analysis. I have also been involved in multiple studies that have sampled youth.
Any relevant financial relationships? No
I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines,
and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed
in my presentation.