Having a Sexual Photo Shared Without Permission and Associated Health Risks: A Snapshot of Nonconsensual Sexting | Adolescent Medicine | JAMA Pediatrics | JAMA Network
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Research Letter
March 23, 2020

Having a Sexual Photo Shared Without Permission and Associated Health Risks: A Snapshot of Nonconsensual Sexting

Author Affiliations
  • 1Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education, Atlanta, Georgia
  • 2Division of Adolescent and School Health, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia
  • 3Department of Pediatrics, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Madison
JAMA Pediatr. 2020;174(6):618-619. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2020.0028

Sexting (sending, receiving, or forwarding sexually explicit messages or photos through text messages or other electronic means)1 is an increasingly recognized adolescent health concern. Less is known about nonconsensual sexting, a range of behaviors and experiences including having a sexual photo shared without consent, a form of noncontact sexual violence.2 We examined prevalence of having a sexual photo shared without permission, including variation by demographics, and associations with interpersonal violence experiences, mental health and suicidality, and sexual risk behaviors.

We pooled data from 4 large urban school districts participating in the 2017 Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS), which included an optional question assessing exposure to nonconsensual sexting. Each site’s data were weighted and then combined, yielding a representative sample of ninth- through twelfth-grade public high school students across sites. More information regarding YRBS methods can be found elsewhere.3 Each of these school districts reviewed and approved the YRBS using their local procedures. The national YRBS has been reviewed and approved by an institutional review board at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The data used in this study were approved by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as research not involving identifiable human subjects. Consent of parents was obtained according to local procedures; in addition, all student participation was anonymous and voluntary.

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