Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science

Living Edition
| Editors: Todd K. Shackelford, Viviana A. Weekes-Shackelford


  • Joris Van Ouytsel
  • Michel Walrave
  • Koen Ponnet
  • Jeff R. Temple
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-16999-6_218-1


The sending of self-made sexually explicit text message, photographs, or videos through electronic media.


Scholars have defined sexting in a variety of ways, from broad definitions that include the sending of all types of self-made sexually explicit media (Barrense-Dias et al. 2017) to more specific definitions that are limited to sending photos and videos of particular body parts. Studies also differ in the timeframe; respondents were asked to recall (e.g., 6 months vs. a year), and whether the studies were conducted among adolescents or adults. This discrepancy in methodology has resulted in muddling the accuracy of research findings (Barrense-Dias et al. 2017). For example, the prevalence of sexting defined as the sending of both sexually explicit text messages and photographs has ranged from about 1% to 30% for adolescents and as high as 57% for young adults (Klettke et al. (2014).

While sexting can take place through all types of electronic media,...

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  1. Barrense-Dias, Y., Berchtold, A., Surís, J.-C., & Akre, C. (2017). Sexting and the definition issue. Journal of Adolescent Health., 61, 544.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jadohealth.2017.05.009.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
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  9. Temple, J. R. (2015). A primer on teen sexting. JAACAP Connect, 2(4), 6–8.Google Scholar
  10. Temple, J. R., & Choi, H. (2014). Longitudinal association between teen sexting and sexual behavior. Pediatrics, 134(5), e1287–e1292.  https://doi.org/10.1542/peds.2014-1974.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  11. Walrave, M., Ponnet, K., Van Ouytsel, J., Van Gool, E., Heirman, W., & Verbeek, A. (2015). Whether or not to engage in sexting: Explaining adolescent sexting behaviour by applying the prototype willingness model. Telematics and Informatics, 32(4), 796–808.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tele.2015.03.008.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joris Van Ouytsel
    • 1
  • Michel Walrave
    • 1
  • Koen Ponnet
    • 2
    • 3
  • Jeff R. Temple
    • 4
  1. 1.University of AntwerpAntwerpBelgium
  2. 2.Department of Communication StudiesIMEC-MICT, Ghent UniversityGhentBelgium
  3. 3.Department of Communication StudiesUniversity of AntwerpAntwerpBelgium
  4. 4.University of Texas Medical BranchGalvestonUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Tara DeLecce
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyOakland UniversityRochesterUSA