Sexting and mental health: A study of Indian and Australian young adults

Special issue: Health and Technology


The objective of this study was to examine engagement in sexting by young adults in India and Australia, and depression, anxiety and stress as risk factors for sending sexts. A total of 298 young Australian adults (Mage = 19.98 years, 75.50% female) and 300 young Indian adults (Mage = 18.08 years, 56.33% female) completed a survey (online and hardcopy) assessing sending and receiving of sexts, and mental health. Australian males were more likely to have sent sexts than Indian males, whilst Australian females were more likely to have both sent and received sexts than Indian females. Indian males were more likely than Indian females to have sent and received sext messages. Higher levels of stress were associated with sending sexts for participants overall, and for Indian respondents, but not Australians when analysed separately. For males overall, higher levels of stress and lower levels of depression were associated with sending sexts, whilst for females, there were no associations with mental health variables, but higher age was associated with sending sexts. Sexting behaviours may be associated with cultural values and vary by gender in more traditional contexts. Further investigation into associations between psychological distress and the probability of sending a sext are warranted.


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