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Associations between sexual violence and sexting behaviors in urban youth

Moore, Mikaela C. (2023) Associations between sexual violence and sexting behaviors in urban youth. Master Essay, University of Pittsburgh.

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As media and technology become ubiquitous and youth have more access to smartphones, sexting and digital image-based sharing have become more prevalent, especially among adolescents. There is mixed concern for sexting in a young population as some experts and teens view it as part of healthy adolescent sexual development and exploration, while certain contexts and situations indicate coercion or non-consensual image sharing or receiving. Current literature suggests associations between sexual violence and sexting behaviors. Treating sexting as an indicator of violence includes using Public Health Critical Race praxis to examine historic and ongoing social and structural factors that contribute to oppression and how that influences health. Racial and gender-based forms of oppression contribute to sexual violence, and to understand sexting behaviors, they should be measured as well. There is no known literature assessing the relationship between racism and sexting behaviors. Current literature is mixed on associations between gender equitable attitudes and sexting behaviors. To fill this gap, this study examines a sample of 244 urban youth (43.6%, female-identified) in Pittsburgh, PA who are engaged in a clinical trial for violence prevention. Simple logistic regression showed a significant association between sexual violence victimization and sexting behaviors (p<.0001) (OR=5.57, 95% CI: 2.89, 10.75), and experiences of racism and sexting (p<.0001) (OR=1.33, 95% CI: 1.17-1.51). Gender equitable attitudes were not significantly associated with sexting (p=0.40). There were significant associations between sexual violence victimization and sexting (aOR=5.8, 95% CI=2.87-11.71) and experiences of racism and sexting (aOR=1.31, 95% CI=1.14-1.51), adjusting for age, race, and gender. Sexual violence victimization and sexting behaviors are associated, highlighting the importance of context dependent research and the potential to use sexting behaviors to find youth facing other forms of violence. To our knowledge, this is the first investigation of racism and its relationship with sexting behaviors, and the significant association shows the public health importance of analyzing sexting behaviors from a public health critical race praxis.


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Item Type: Other Thesis, Dissertation, or Long Paper (Master Essay)
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Moore, Mikaela C.mcm173@pitt.edumcm1730000-0001-5768-2514
ContributionContributors NameEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Thesis advisorHill, Ashley V.avh16@pitt.eduavh16UNSPECIFIED
Committee MemberDe Genna, Natachadegennan@pitt.edudegennanUNSPECIFIED
Committee MemberBaumann, Sara E.sab269@pitt.edusab269UNSPECIFIED
Committee MemberMiller, Elizabethelm114@pitt.eduelm114UNSPECIFIED
Date: 17 May 2023
Date Type: Completion
Submission Date: 18 April 2023
Access Restriction: 2 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 2 years.
Number of Pages: 45
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Public Health > Epidemiology
Degree: MPH - Master of Public Health
Thesis Type: Master Essay
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: sexting, sexual violence, victimization, racism, gender equitable attitudes
Date Deposited: 17 May 2023 19:54
Last Modified: 17 May 2023 19:54


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