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Online sexual behaviours among Swedish youth: associations to background factors, behaviours and abuse
Östergötlands Läns Landsting, Local Health Care Services in Central Östergötland, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry in Linköping. Linköping University, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Division of Neuro and Inflammation Science. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
Linköping University, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Division of Clinical Sciences. Linköping University, Faculty of Health Sciences. Östergötlands Läns Landsting, Center of Paediatrics and Gynaecology and Obstetrics, Department of Gynaecology and Obstetrics in Linköping.
Department of Psychology, Linnæus University, Växjö, Sweden.
Linköping University, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Division of Clinical Sciences. Linköping University, Faculty of Health Sciences. Östergötlands Läns Landsting, Local Health Care Services in Central Östergötland, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry in Linköping.
2015 (English)In: European Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, ISSN 1018-8827, E-ISSN 1435-165X, Vol. 24, no 10, 1245-1260 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Sexual activity online may result in positive experiences for young people, or lead them to engage in risky behaviours possibly resulting in sexual assault or abuse. The aim of our study was to investigate associations between online sexual behaviours among Swedish youth and background factors as well as aspects of well-being. The behaviours investigated were: having sex online with a contact met online, having sex with an online contact offline, posting sexual pictures online, and selling sex online. We used data from a representative sample of 3,432 Swedish youth who were asked about their lifetime experiences as well as their experiences within the previous year. We hypothesized that more advanced online sexual behaviours were associated with more problematic background factors, worse psychosocial well-being and riskier behaviours in general. Bivariate relationships were evaluated followed by a multiple logistic regression model. Our data suggested that most Swedish youth do not perform any of the assessed online sexual behaviours. Young people who reported online sexual behaviour showed a more problematic background, rated their health as poorer, had a more sexualized life and had experienced more sexual or physical abuse. Professionals who work with young people need to help them better evaluate potential risks online and offer support when needed. Youths who sell sex online are especially at risk and need extra attention, as they might be in greater need of protection and therapeutic support.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 24, no 10, 1245-1260 p.
Keyword [en]
Sexual risk taking; Online sexual behaviour; Sexting; Selling sex; Youth; Adolescent; Internet
National Category
Psychiatry Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-114538DOI: 10.1007/s00787-015-0673-9ISI: 000362331400009PubMedID: 25589438OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-114538DiVA: diva2:790928
Available from: 2015-02-26 Created: 2015-02-26 Last updated: 2017-12-04Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Online Sexual Behaviours Among Swedish Youth: Characteristics, Associations and Consequences
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Online Sexual Behaviours Among Swedish Youth: Characteristics, Associations and Consequences
2015 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Online sexual behaviours refer to sexual activities where the Internet and/or mobile phone are used. The aims of this thesis were to investigate young people and their experiences of different online sexual behaviours with regard to characteristics, associations and consequences, by using data from a representative sample of 3,503 Swedish youth (m= 18.3 years). In addition 16 interviews were made with young women who had sold sex online before the age of 18. Focus in these interviews were in which ways contacts between buyer and seller were established and the motivational factors for selling sex online.

In study I (n= 3,288), 20.9% (19.2% boys and 22.3% girls) reported experiences of voluntary online sexual exposure: flashing in webcam/mobile; posted partially undressed pictures or films; masturbated on webcam; had sex on webcam. Multivariate analysis showed a significant association between voluntary online sexual exposure and a number of different forms of harassments online. Neither poorer psychological health nor problematic relations with parents remained significant in the final model predicting voluntary online sexual exposure. In study II (n= 3,432) four online sexual behaviours were studied: meeting a person online for sex online; meeting a person online for sex offline; posted sexual pictures online; selling sex online. These were investigated in relation to socio-demographic factors, psychosocial wellbeing and risk behaviours. Bivariate logistic regressions were followed by multiple logistic regressions. The data suggested that most Swedish youth do not perform any of the assessed online sexual behaviours, but those who did (15.2%) reported a more problematic background, rated their health as poorer, had a more sexualised life and had experienced more sexual or physical abuse. This was especially prevalent among those who had sold sex online. In study III, young women with experiences of selling sex online before the age of 18 were interviewed. The interviews focused on the role Internet and mobile phone play and the methods of contacts and characteristics of the communication between buyer and seller. Two main themes were identified: Internet use - part of daily life for good and bad, depending on mood; Patterns of contacts - innocent/curious, dating, advertising. In the fourth study the interviews with the young women who had sold sex online before the age of 18 were analysed focusing on the women’s perceptions of the reasons why they started, continued and stopped selling sex. Three themes and eight sub-themes were identified in relation to different stages in their lives in the sex trade, each with its own storyline: Entering, adverse life experiences - traumatic events, feeling different and being excluded; Immersion, using the body as a regulating tool - being seen, being touched, being in control, affect regulation and self-harming; Exiting, change or die - living close to death, the process of quitting.

In conclusion, the results from this thesis showed that most young people use Internet and mobile phones for non-sexual activities. Sexual behaviours online were associated with a more problematic background and poorer wellbeing. More research, attention and support are needed, especially related to young people selling sex online.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2015. 100 p.
Series
Linköping University Medical Dissertations, ISSN 0345-0082 ; 1444
Keyword
Online, Internet, sexual behaviour, selling sex, sexting, youth, adolescents
National Category
Psychiatry Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-114542 (URN)10.3384/diss.diva-114542 (DOI)978-91-7519-128-7 (ISBN)
Public defence
2015-03-27, Berzeliussalen, Campus US, Linköpings universitet, Linköping, 09:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2015-02-26 Created: 2015-02-26 Last updated: 2015-03-20Bibliographically approved

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Jonsson, LindaBladh, MarieSvedin, Carl Göran

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Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry in LinköpingDivision of Neuro and Inflammation ScienceFaculty of Medicine and Health SciencesDivision of Clinical SciencesFaculty of Health SciencesDepartment of Gynaecology and Obstetrics in Linköping
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