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The dark side of sexting – factors predicting the dissemination of sexts
journal contributionposted on 2019-03-01, 00:00 authored by Elizabeth ClancyElizabeth Clancy, Bianca KlettkeBianca Klettke, David HallfordDavid Hallford
Sexting (i.e. the sending and receiving of sexually explicit images via apps or phones) is increasingly common among young adults. However, specific concerns relate to the potential social and legal implications of non-consensual sext dissemination. Whilst previous research has investigated the prevalence of non-consensual dissemination, motivations for engaging in non-consensual dissemination are not well understood. In a large convenience sample of young Australian adults (N = 505, M age = 21, SD = 5, 67% female), we tested the hypothesis that sext dissemination is associated with positive subjective norms and personal attitudes towards sext dissemination, and dark triad personality traits of Machiavellianism, psychopathy and narcissism. We found four unique predictors of increased likelihood of non-consensual dissemination: being sexually active, having received a disseminated sext, more strongly normalising that sexts are usually disseminated or seen by others, and stronger positive attitudes towards disseminating sexts as being funny; and one unique predictor of decreased likelihood: having personally-experienced negative consequences from sending sexts. No independent relationship with dark triad traits was found, although these predictors may be proxies for dark triad-related dissemination motivations. These findings suggest possible explanatory mechanisms for non-consensual dissemination and directions for future research including image context and dissemination circumstances.