Adolescent girls’ and boys’ well-being in relation to online and offline sexual and romantic activity

Special issue: Internet and Sexuality

The aims of this study were to determine links between adolescent’s well-being and their sexual and romantic activities off- and online. The study includes 245 mid-adolescents (15 years of age; 55 % girls) and 251 late-adolescents (18 years of age; 49 % girls). Of the 496 teenagers, 54 % had experiences of both online and offline sexual and romantic activities, while the remaining (46 %) had only offline experiences.

Teenagers’ experiences with online sexual/romantic activities were associated with experiences of offline sexual/romantic activities. Multiple regressions showed that age (older) and risk behaviour contributed to higher engagement in offline sexual/romantic activities. In contrast, only higher risk behaviour contributed to higher engagement in online sexual/romantic activities for boys, but for girl several factors, such as age (younger), lower body esteem, higher risk- and problem behaviour contributed to higher engagement in online sexual/romantic activities. We discuss this result from a gender perspective.

sexuality; online; offline; adolescence; well-being
Author biographies

Emma Sorbring

Author photo Emma Sorbring, Associate professor in Psychology and Research director for Child and Youth Studies at University West, Sweden. Her research and teaching interests lie in the area of children, adolescents and families. Her projects focus on teenagers’ internet use and parental strategies, sexual development in traditional and new settings (internet), dating violence, parental behaviour and children’s adjustment, and young people’s decision-making.

Therése Skoog

Author photo Therése Skoog, PhD in Psychology at the Center for Developmental Research at Örebro University. Her research interests are in the area of developmental psychology, with a particular focus on adolescence. This includes the developmental significance of pubertal timing, sexual development, psychological aspects of sports and preventive interventions.

Margareta Bohlin

Author photo Margareta Bohlin, PhD in Psychology at University West, Sweden. Her research focuses on risk taking among adolescents from existential, social and gender perspectives. She leads projects concerning adolescents’ use of social media and on risk discourses in the media, both on- and offline. She also participates in projects about sexual development in relation to Internet and social media.

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