Under pressure to sext? Applying the theory of planned behaviour to adolescent sexting
Faculty of Social Sciences. Communication Sciences
Behaviour and information technology. - London
, p. 85-97
University of Antwerp
Adolescent sexting the electronic swapping of sexually intimate texts or images has attracted significant media and policy attention. However, questions remain about the predictors of this phenomenon, in which mobile phones play a central role in adolescents exploration of sexuality. Therefore, a survey involving 498 adolescents aged between 15 and 18 years was conducted. The first aim of this study is to determine the predictive value of personal attitudes, subjective norm (SN) and perceived behavioural control by applying the theory of planned behaviour (TPB). As the second aim, we wish to assess the relative importance of the most salient beliefs underpinning the TPB components, since this will allow us to gain a more nuanced insight into the characteristics of adolescent sexting. Analyses reveal that SN is the most important predictor, followed by adolescents attitudes towards sexting. Perceived behavioural control is significantly but weakly associated with teenagers sexting intentions. Within SN, friends and romantic partners represent the most important sources of social pressure, while only positive behavioural outcomes are found to affect adolescents sexting intentions. The most important control belief affecting adolescents intention to sext is the belief that it occurs relatively more often among those whom adolescents feel they can trust entirely.