Sex-related online behaviors, perceived peer norms and adolescents' experience with sexual behavior: Testing an integrative model

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Abstract

© 2015 Doornwaard et al. Research on the role of sex-related Internet use in adolescents' sexual development has often isolated the Internet and online behaviors from other, offline influencing factors in adolescents' lives, such as processes in the peer domain. The aim of this study was to test an integrative model explaining how receptive (i.e., use of sexually explicit Internet material [SEIM]) and interactive (i.e., use of social networking sites [SNS] ) sex-related online behaviors interrelate with perceived peer norms in predicting adolescents' experience with sexual behavior. Structural equation modeling on longitudinal data from 1,132 Dutch adolescents (M < inf > age < /inf > T < inf > 1 < /inf > = 13.95; range 11-17; 52.7% boys) demonstrated concurrent, direct, and indirect effects between sex-related online behaviors, perceived peer norms, and experience with sexual behavior. SEIM use (among boys) and SNS use (among boys and girls) predicted increases in adolescents' perceptions of peer approval of sexual behavior and/or in their estimates of the numbers of sexually active peers. These perceptions, in turn, predicted increases in adolescents' level of experience with sexual behavior at the end of the study. Boys' SNS use also directly predicted increased levels of experience with sexual behavior. These findings highlight the need for multisystemic research and intervention development to promote adolescents' sexual health. Copyright:

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Doornwaard, S. M., Ter Bogt, T. F. M., Reitz, E., & Van Den Eijnden, R. J. J. M. (2015). Sex-related online behaviors, perceived peer norms and adolescents’ experience with sexual behavior: Testing an integrative model. PLoS ONE, 10(6). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0127787

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