Date of Award

January 2014

Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


School of Public Health

First Advisor

Trace Kershaw

Second Advisor

Derrick M. Gordon


Purpose: Sexting, the act of sending or receiving sexually suggestive or explicit messages, photos or videos via mobile phone, and sexual risk have not been studied extensively within a young adult population. The overall aim of this study is to understand the predictors associated with sexting within a low-income, minority, emerging adult, male population and asses the association between sexting behaviors and sexual risk.

Methods: 119, male, heterosexual, young adults participated in a longitudinal study of social networks, health behavior and health outcomes, which included a questionnaire on sexting behaviors and sexual health outcomes. This study is based on the baseline data from this longitudinal study.

Results: Exposure to sexual stimuli was a predictor for most sexting behaviors but there were differences between those who sent/received to steady partners and those who sent/received to hookups. Those who sent sexts to a steady partner were less likely to use condoms over the past six months. Those who sent a sext to a hookup were 4.59 times more likely to have had concurrent relationships over their lifetime.

Conclusions: The study found that sexting is a reciprocal behavior within young adult relationships. The main predictors of sexting and sexual risk outcomes vary depending on whether the sext is sent or received and to whom. The study shows that sexting is marginally related to sexual risk.


This is an Open Access Thesis.

Open Access

This Article is Open Access