Background: Sexting is an increasingly common phenomenon among adolescents and young adults. Some studies have investigated the role of personality traits in different sexting behaviors within mainstream personality taxonomies like Big Five and HEXACO. However, very few studies have investigated the role of maladaptive personality factors in sexting. Therefore, the present study investigated the relationship between Dark Triad Personality Traits and experimental (i.e., sharing own sexts), risky (i.e., sexting under substance use and with strangers), and aggravated sexting (i.e., non-consensual sexting and sexting under pressure) across 11 countries.
Methods: An online survey was completed by 6093 participants (Mage = 20.35; SDage = 3.63) from 11 different countries which covered four continents (Europe, Asia, Africa, and America). Participants completed the Sexting Behaviors Questionnaire and the 12-item Dark Triad Dirty Dozen scale.
Results: Hierarchical regression analyses showed that sharing own sexts was positively predicted by Machiavellianism and Narcissism. Both risky and aggravated sexting were positively predicted by Machiavellianism and Psychopathy.
Conclusions: The present study provided empirical evidence that different sexting behaviors were predicted by Dark Triad Personality Traits, showing a relevant role of Machiavellianism in all kinds of investigated sexting behaviors. Research, clinical, and education implications for prevention programs are discussed.
Keywords: adolescents; cross-country investigation; dark triad traits; personality; sexting; young adults.