Adolescents' sexual self-disclosure on the internet: deindividuation and impression management

Adolescence. Fall 2006;41(163):547-61.


This study examined the effect of anonymity on adolescents' sexual self-disclosure on the Internet and the impact of topic intimacy on their reply intent for sexual disclosure by conducting a survey with 1,347 adolescents. It was found that male participants were more likely than females to engage in sexual self-disclosure and to correspondingly respond to cyber partners' sexual disclosure. Results showed that the greater the anonymity, the greater the intent for sexual self-disclosure. Participants exhibited greater reply intent when cyber partners self-disclosed sexual topics with greater intimacy, and the effect of topic intimacy was more pronounced in male participants. The findings suggest that male adolescents tend to adopt a reciprocal strategy in responding to partners' sexual disclosure on the Internet, whereas females tend to employ a conservative strategy. It was concluded that male and female adolescents revealed differential self-presentation and impression management for their sexual self-disclosing and responding on the Internet.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Attitude
  • Confidentiality*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Individuation*
  • Internet*
  • Interpersonal Relations*
  • Male
  • Motivation
  • Psychology, Adolescent*
  • Self Disclosure*
  • Sex Factors
  • Sexual Behavior*
  • Taiwan