Prevalence and patterns of sexting among ethnic minority urban high school students

Cyberpsychol Behav Soc Netw. 2013 Jun;16(6):454-9. doi: 10.1089/cyber.2012.0452. Epub 2013 Feb 25.

Abstract

Although sexting among U.S. youth has received much popular media attention, there are only limited data on its prevalence among ethnic minority youth. This study, therefore, specifically examined the prevalence and patterns of sexting (sending and/or receiving a nude or semi-nude picture/video or a sexual text-only message) among a sample of black and Hispanic youth. Data from 1,034 tenth graders from a large, urban school district in southeast Texas were used to calculate the prevalence of sexting by gender-race/ethnicity. Overlap among sexting behaviors was also examined. Electronic surveys were administered via an audio-computer-assisted self-interview on laptop computers. Prevalence estimates were obtained, and chi-square analyses were conducted to compare the distribution of sexting behaviors by gender-race/ethnicity subgroups. More than 20% of students reported sending either a nude or semi-nude picture/video or a sexual text-only message (jointly referred to as a "sext"), and more than 30% reported receiving a sext. Sexts were also frequently shared with unintended recipients. Black males and females reported similar prevalence estimates for sexting behaviors. However, they were more likely than Hispanic males to participate in some sexting behaviors. Hispanic females reported the lowest estimates for sexting behaviors for all gender-race/ethnicity subgroups. Many youth who sent or received a nude or semi-nude picture/video were also likely to have sent or received sexual text-only messages. The results of this study indicate that sexting is prevalent among ethnic minority youth. However, more research is needed to understand the specific context and circumstances around which sexting occurs in this population.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior
  • African Americans / statistics & numerical data*
  • Data Collection
  • Female
  • Hispanic Americans / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Sexual Behavior / statistics & numerical data*
  • Students / statistics & numerical data*
  • Text Messaging / statistics & numerical data*
  • Urban Population / statistics & numerical data