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What Do People Expect from Sexting?

The following text is taken from a press release by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers

showCoverImageNew Rochelle, NY, August 8, 2013—As many as 20% of adolescents and 44% of young adults have shared nude or semi-nude photos of themselves via cell phone or social networking sites, a behavior known as sexting. Some people do it in the hopes it will lead to a “hook-up” or sexual activity. Sexting behavior and what results people expect may differ depending on a person’s gender, relationship status, and sexual identity, are explored in a study published in Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, a peer-reviewed journal from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers. The article is available free […].

What people expect to experience when they send or receive sexts influence their decision to participate in sexting, according to study authors Allyson Dir and colleagues, Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis. The authors describe both positive and negative expectations when people send or receive sexts. They identified significant differences in sexting behaviors and expectations between males and females and between individuals who were single or were in relationships, reporting their findings in the article “Understanding Differences in Sexting Behaviors across Gender, Relationship Status, and Sexual Identity and the Role of Sexting Expectancies in Sexting.”

“In the relatively new field of cyberpsychology, we endeavor to learn about the many challenges of current behavior that social networking makes possible,” says Brenda K. Wiederhold, PhD, MBA, BCIA, Editor-in-Chief of Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, from the Interactive Media Institute, San Diego, CA.


Here the abstract of the arcticle:

Sexting, or the exchange of sexually explicit material via Internet social-networking site or mobile phone, is an increasingly prevalent behavior. The study sought to (1) identify expectancies regarding sexting behaviors, (2) examine how demographics (i.e., gender, sexual identity, relationship status) might be differentially related to sexting expectancies and behaviors, and (3) examine whether these concurrent relationships are consistent with a theoretical causal model in which sexting expectancies influence sexting behaviors. The sample consisted of 278 undergraduate students (mean age=21.0 years, SD=4.56; 53.8% female; 76.3% caucasian). Factor analyses supported the validity and reliability of the Sextpectancies Measure (α=0.85–0.93 across subscales) and indicated two expectancy domains each for both sending and receiving sexts: positive expectancies (sexual-related and affect-related) and negative expectancies. Males reported stronger positive expectancies (F=4.64, p=0.03) while females reported stronger negative expectancies (F=6.11, p=0.01) about receiving sexts. There were also differences across relationship status regarding negative expectancies (F=2.25, p=0.05 for sending; F=4.24, p=0.002 for receiving). There were also significant effects of positive (F=45.98, p<0.001 for sending, F=22.42, p<0.001 for receiving) and negative expectancies (F=36.65, p=0.02 sending, F=14.41, p<0.001 receiving) on sexting behaviors (η2 from 0.04–0.13). College students reported both positive and negative sextpectancies, although sextpectancies and sexting varied significantly across gender, race, sexual identity, and relationship status. Concurrent relationships were consistent with the causal model of sextpectancies influencing sexting behaviors, and this study serves as the first test of this model, which could inform future prevention strategies to mitigate sexting risks.

via Understanding Differences in Sexting Behaviors Across Gender, Relationship Status, and Sexual Identity, and the Role of Expectancies in Sexting


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Lutz Siemer

Lutz Siemer

Education, Research & Development in Social Work & IT After working as an alternative practitioner and psychotherapist in private practice for nearly ten years I stepped over to higher education in 2005. At Saxion University of Applied Sciences I lecture and do research and development in the area of Social Work, Psychology and IT. Currently I'm focussing on merging mobile technology and social work.

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