Sexting and mental health: A school-based longitudinal study among youth in Southeast Texas

Pooja Chaudhary, The University of Texas School of Public Health


Background: Sexting has emerged as a common socio-cultural problem in our society today. Few studies have estimated the prevalence of sexting among younger middle school youth and even fewer have assessed the relationship between sexting and mental health outcomes like anxiety and depression symptoms among middle school youth.^ Objectives: To estimate the prevalence of sexting among sixth and seventh-grade middle school students in a large urban school district in Southeast Texas and to assess its relationship with mental health outcomes (both anxiety and depression) among these youth.^ Methods: A secondary data analysis of an existing three-year randomized, two-arm, nested longitudinal study was conducted. Associations between sexting and depression symptoms; and sexting and anxiety symptoms were assessed via univariate and multivariate logistic analysis.^ Results: The prevalence of sexting among sixth graders was found to be 12%. Compared to youth who were not engaged in sexting, engagement in sexting was associated with significantly increased odds of depression and anxiety symptoms.^ Conclusion: Sexting is common among youth and increases the odds for depression and anxiety symptoms. These findings highlight the importance of continuing research on sexting and the need to target early interventions for youth involved in sexting behavior.^

Subject Area

Mental health|Behavioral psychology|Health sciences

Recommended Citation

Chaudhary, Pooja, "Sexting and mental health: A school-based longitudinal study among youth in Southeast Texas" (2017). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI10251877.