Sexting, Mental Health, and Victimization Among Adolescents: A Literature Review

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2019 Jul 3;16(13):2364. doi: 10.3390/ijerph16132364.


The practice of creating and sharing sexual images via technological devices, known as sexting, has received crescent attention in the past years, especially due to the increase of adolescent engagement in this behavior. Although consensual sexting is not prima facie a crime, as some research has shown, it has the potential to be a risky behavior, and a threshold to get exposure to dangerous kinds of victimization as sextortion, online grooming or cyberbullying. In this context, teenagers represent a vulnerable group due to their limited ability of self-regulation, their high susceptibility to peer pressure, their technophilia, and their growing sexual curiosity. The present paper aims to review the scientific literature to analyze the relationship between mental health and sexting as a potentially risky behavior and its association with online victimization. The results and implications will be discussed.

Keywords: adolescents; child victimization; mental health; sexting; threshold.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior / psychology*
  • Crime Victims*
  • Cyberbullying
  • Humans
  • Mental Health
  • Sexual Behavior / psychology*
  • Text Messaging*