Publication details

The reciprocal relationship between consensual sexting and peer support among adolescents : A three-wave longitudinal study



Year of publication 2024
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Computers in Human Behavior
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Social Studies

Keywords Sexting; Adolescents; Peer support; RI-CLPM; Consent; Longitudinal
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Description Adolescent sexting is often linked with negative peer outcomes, which are more pronounced for girls. However, existing research has generally mixed non-consensual sexting and consensual sexting, the latter of which could be even beneficial for adolescents' well-being. A longitudinal approach is necessary to address how the change in peer relationships may be the outcome of engaging in sexting, as well as its driver. Using a random-intercept cross-lagged panel model (RI-CLPM) on a large, national, quota-based sample of Czech adolescents (N = 1,102, 11–16 years, 48.3% female) over three waves of data collection, we investigate the reciprocal relationship -between consensual sexting and peer support. To ensure that the outcomes do not differ by gender, we also test a multigroup model. Our results reveal no longitudinal relationship between consensual sexting and peer support, even after accounting for gender and age differences. In line with other studies within the mental health area, our results add to the knowledge that consensual sexting is not detrimental to adolescents’ well-being. Our results are thus important for parents and practitioners, because they support that sexting could be understood as a natural part of contemporary adolescent sexual development and, although engagement in sexting may be risky, it is not harmful.
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