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Sexting Prevalence and Socio-Demographic Correlates in Spanish Secondary School Students

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This research analyzes the prevalence of sexting and socio-demographic correlates in a sample of 647 adolescents administered a questionnaire at secondary schools in Valencia (Spain).


The questionnaire results indicate that 61% of respondents reported being involved in at least one case of sexting, with 24, 58, and 18% reporting having sent a sext, received a sext, and forwarded a sext, respectively.


More males and older adolescents reported having received and forwarded sexts than female and younger adolescents.


Furthermore, time spent using Information and Communications Technology (ICT) devices, use and frequency of use of social media, grade repetition, low academic performance expectations in Math, and a single-parent family situation appear to correlate with an increase in the prevalence of sexting experiences.

Policy Implications

Our study also provides results that can support new lines of inquiry into analyzing the relationship between sexting and certain socio-demographic, family situation, and educational variables in relation to adolescents.

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  1. 1.

    Wood et al. (2015) reported a greater likelihood of sending sexual images with increased age in all countries where they carried out their study and in both sexes. The only exception being in the country of Cyprus.

  2. 2.

    West et al. (2014) found that, in males, one of the factors associated with an increased likelihood of sexting was the excessive sending of text messages.


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We are grateful to the young people who participated in our research, as well as to the schools that allowed us to administer our questionnaire.


This work was supported by funding from the Government of the Valencian Community (predoctoral grant DOGV No. 7943, ACIF, 2017) and from the Spanish Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities (PGC2018-100675-B-I00). Funders had no role in the study design, data collection or analysis, the decision to publish, or the preparation of the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Cristian Molla-Esparza.

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Molla-Esparza, C., López-González, E. & Losilla, J. Sexting Prevalence and Socio-Demographic Correlates in Spanish Secondary School Students. Sex Res Soc Policy (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13178-020-00434-0

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  • Sexting prevalence
  • Adolescents
  • ICT
  • School
  • Family