Associations Between Sexting Behaviors and Sexual Behaviors Among Mobile Phone-Owning Teens in Los Angeles

Child Dev. 2018 Jan;89(1):110-117. doi: 10.1111/cdev.12837. Epub 2017 May 29.


The implications of teen sexting for healthy development continue to concern parents, academics, and the general public. Using a probability sample of high school students (N = 1,208) aged 12-18, the prevalence of sexting, associations with sexting, and associations between sexing and sexual activity were assessed. Seventeen percent both sent and received sexts, and 24% only received sexts. Sending and receiving sexts were positively associated with each other and both behaviors were associated with having peers who sext. Lifetime reports of sexual intercourse, anal sex, oral sex, and recent unprotected sex were positively associated with reports of texting 300 or more times per day, only receiving sexts, and both sending and receiving sexts.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior*
  • Cell Phone / statistics & numerical data*
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Los Angeles / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Sexual Behavior / statistics & numerical data*
  • Text Messaging / statistics & numerical data*