Thesis

The influence of adult attachment styles and gender on attitudes toward sexting behaviors

It is evident that the use of technology has played a large role in the advancement of intimate behavior through the use of tools such as cell phones and computers. The present study examined individuals’ attitudes toward sexting behavior and the relationship of those attitudes to adult attachment styles, gender, and age. A sample of 322 participants was recruited through Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, and were administered the Experiences in Close Relationships Scale (ECR), along with two questionnaires assessing sexting attitudes and behavior. Results indicated that 29.8% of the participants were categorized as being Secure, 28.4% Fearful-Avoidant, 34.9% Preoccupied, and 6.8% Dismissive-Avoidant. Significant differences were found in relation to both sexting attitudes and sexting behaviors between women and men, as well as between the different attachments styles, specifically pertaining to the frequency of sending and receiving sext messages. Age was not found to be a significant factor. Future research should examine attachment styles and sexting attitudes and behaviors of those in relationships as compared to those who are not, as well as those who present with sex addictions. Cultural diversity and practices should also be taken into consideration when examining behaviors of this nature. Further understanding of how personality affects behaviors of this nature will also aid therapists in treatment strategies, which in turn will enable lawmakers in their understanding of how to approach punishment versus treatment options.

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