Brief report: Teen sexting and psychosocial health

J Adolesc. 2014 Jan;37(1):33-6. doi: 10.1016/j.adolescence.2013.10.008. Epub 2013 Nov 15.


The current study examines whether adolescents who report sexting exhibit more psychosocial health problems, compared to their non-sexting counterparts. Participants included 937 ethnically diverse male and female adolescents recruited and assessed from multiple high schools in southeast Texas. Measures included self-report of sexting, impulsivity, alcohol and drug use, and depression and anxiety symptoms. Teen sexting was significantly associated with symptoms of depression, impulsivity, and substance use. When adjusted for prior sexual behavior, age, gender, race/ethnicity, and parent education, sexting was only related to impulsivity and substance use. While teen sexting appears to correlate with impulsive and high-risk behaviors (substance use), we did not find sexting to be a marker of mental health.

Keywords: Adolescents; Impulsivity; Mental health; Substance use; Teen sexting.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior / psychology*
  • Cell Phone*
  • Erotica*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Impulsive Behavior*
  • Male
  • Mental Health
  • Psychology, Adolescent
  • Risk-Taking
  • Sexual Behavior*
  • Text Messaging