Adolescents’ sexy self-presentation on instagram: An investigation of their posting behavior using a prototype willingness model perspective

Joris Van Ouytsel, Michel Walrave, Mónica Ojeda, Rosario Del Rey, Koen Ponnet

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Some adolescents use social media platforms, such as Instagram, for sexualized self-presentation, which includes posting images in which someone is scarcely dressed, has a sexy gaze or in which sexual willingness is suggested. These behaviors could be a first step towards sexting. Given that adolescents are highly influenced by peer perceptions, this study uses the prototype willingness model to assess how teenagers’ perceptions of others could influence their posting behaviors. The study was conducted among 2626 students (n = 1530; 58.4% girls) between the ages of 14 and 21 (M = 16.14; SD = 1.02) in 10 secondary schools in the Dutch-speaking community in Belgium. The results show that older adolescents and girls were more likely to post images of themselves on Instagram. The models showed that peer norms and willingness and attitudes were significantly associated with posting intention. The perceived norms of adolescents’ parents were not significantly related to the behaviors. There were also significant associations between perceived similarity, prototype favorability and the willingness to engage in sexualized self-presentation on Instagram. The implications for education and practice are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number8106
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Volume17
Issue number21
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2020
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • E-safety
  • Sexting
  • Sexualized self-presentation
  • Social media

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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