Conduct problems and sexting: Gender differences



*Mariamo A, Martin-Storey A, Déry M, *Tomasiello M, Temcheff CE. (2024). Conduct problems and sexting: Gender differences. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry. 154, 108154.


Background: The prevalence and potential consequences of sexting make identifying youth who are most likely to engage in these behaviors important. Conduct problems (CP) are associated with sexual risk behavior in general, and with sexting in particular. This study explored whether childhood or adolescent CP were linked with sexting behaviors in adolescence and whether this link differed between boys and girls.

Methods: Participants (N = 628; mean age = 17.4 years, SD = 0.98) from a longitudinal study of youth with and without childhood CP were asked about their lifetime engagement in four different sexting behaviors.

Results: Logistic regression models indicated that while childhood CP were not a significant predictor for sexting among young men, they were significantly associated with a higher likelihood of sending, receiving, and being forwarded sexts among young women. Adolescent CP were a significant predictor for sending and receiving sexts among both young men and women.

Conclusions: Boys with adolescent CP were more likely to send and receive sexts. Girls with both childhood and adolescent CP were more likely to engage in sexting behaviors. These findings are in line with previous research linking both childhood and adolescent CP with sexual risk behaviors.