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Journal article Open Access

Sexting and Mental Health Among a Spanish College Sample: An Exploratory Analysis

Aina M. Gassó; Katrin Mueller-Johnson; José R. Agustina; Irene Montiel

Recent research on sexting suggests it could be related to mental health, but so far studies have often used simple and not clinically validated measures of mental health. Specific aims of this study were: 1) to analyze the lifetime prevalence of sexting behaviors among a Spanish College Sample by gender, and 2) to examine the psychopathological profile of those students who engaged in sexting. Method: The sample consisted of 120 Spanish college students (75% female, 22.1 mean age) who took part in an online survey about their engagement in sexting behaviors and psychopathological symptomatology, measured by LSB-50. Results: Out of the sample, 42% of participants engaged in active sexting behaviors, 58% in passive sexting, and 31% of participants had both received content and sent content. Furthermore, 41.1% of the sample showed depressive symptoms, whilst 52.7% reported anxiety symptoms, and sexters were 2.98 times more likely to be depressed, 2.52 times more likely to have anxiety, and 2.63 times more likely to show global psychopathology than non-sexters. Conclusions: Sexting is highly prevalent amongst Spanish college students, and those people who engage in sexting have higher ratios of mental health issues.

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