The aim of this study was to analyze the relationship between body shame and participation in sexting among adolescents by examining the mediational roles of social physique anxiety and misuse of social networking sites (SNSs). Four hundred thirty-nine adolescents completed self-report measures for assessing their levels of body shame, social physique anxiety, SNS addiction symptoms, and sexting participation. Female adolescents reported higher scores in body shame, social physique anxiety, and SNS addiction symptoms, whereas male adolescents reported higher participation in sexting behaviors. In addition, gender did not moderate the relationship between body shame and higher sexting behaviors. Finally, the results showed an indirect (but not a direct) association between body shame and sexting behaviors through social physique anxiety and SNS addiction symptoms. These findings provide empirical evidence for the development of sexting prevention programs that are focused on body acceptance with the aim of reducing body shame, social physique anxiety, and SNS addiction.

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Published In

cover image Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking
Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking
Volume 24Issue Number 12December 2021
Pages: 799 - 805
PubMed: 34191601


Published online: 7 December 2021
Published in print: December 2021
Published ahead of print: 1 July 2021


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Department of Psychology and Anthropology, University of Extremadura, Badajoz, Spain.
Department of Psychology and Anthropology, University of Extremadura, Badajoz, Spain.
Department of Social Psychology, Mind, Brain and Behavioral Research Center (CIMCYC), Faculty of Psychology, University of Granada, Granada, Spain.
Francisca Expósito, PhD https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6157-4292
Department of Social Psychology, Mind, Brain and Behavioral Research Center (CIMCYC), Faculty of Psychology, University of Granada, Granada, Spain.


Address correspondence to: Laura Villanueva-Moya, Department of Social Psychology, Mind, Brain and Behavioral Research Center (CIMCYC), Faculty of Psychology, University of Granada, Campus Cartuja SN, Granada 18071, Spain [email protected]

Authors' Contributions

M.J.R.: Conceptualization, writing—review and editing. G.S.: Conceptualization, methodology, formal analysis, writing—review and editing. L.V.-M.: Conceptualization, writing—review and editing. F.E.: Supervision, writing—review and editing.

Author Disclosure Statement

The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest.

Funding Information

This work was supported by the Spanish Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness for the project “New Forms of Gender Violence: Risk and Protector Factors for Psychological Well-Being” [PSI-2017- 84703-R (MINECO/AEI/FEDER/UE)].

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