Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award

January 2016

Degree Type


Degree Name



Educational Psychology

First Advisor

Cheryl L. Somers


The purpose of the current study was to propose and test a predictive model for high school sexting in order to better understand influences and characteristics that contribute most to one’s decision to sext. Sexting was defined as either sending or receiving photos, videos, or text messages that contained full nudity, partial nudity, sexual requests, or comments of a sexual nature. Rates and typical recipients of sexual content were also examined in this study. A sample of 314 high school students in an urban area of Southeast Michigan were surveyed. Males were found to more frequently report engaging in nearly all forms of sexting. Impulsivity, frequency of electronic communication, peer pressure, peer sexting, and peer imitation significantly predicted sexting beyond demographic factors alone. Self-esteem was not associated with sexting, nor did it moderate the effect of peer pressure to sext. Two unique predictive models were estimated for sending and receiving sexts, and both attained good fit to the data. The findings may help parents, teens, and educators take appropriate measures to inform and encourage the safe use of technology.