Date of Award

Spring 6-2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Forensic Psychology



First Advisor or Mentor

Elizabeth Jeglic

Second Reader

Cynthia Calkins

Third Advisor

Lisa Fishel-Wolovick


With development of technology, Image-Based Sexual Abuse (IBSA), a new type of sexual abuse, has emerged. It is defined as nonconsensually creating nude or sexual images of others; nonconsensually distributing nude or sexual images of others; and threatening to distribute nude or sexual images of others (Henry & Flynn, 2019; Powell et al., 2019). As this is a relatively new phenomenon, risk factors for IBSA are not yet well understood. It has been suggested that sexting may be a risk factor for IBSA as the two behaviors share some common characteristics. For example, both sexting and IBSA involve sending or receiving sexually explicit materials, and both are often conducted between intimate partners. In fact, when sexts are forwarded to a third party, it can be considered IBSA. To further examine the relationship between sexting and IBSA, 451 participants completed an online survey examining their sexting behavior and their experience of IBSA. Using the data, the relationship between characteristics of sexting behavior (e.g., gender and relationship between sexting sender and receiver) and IBSA experiences was examined. The results showed that many of individuals who sent or received sexts also experienced IBSA. It was notable that gender, but not the relationship between sexting sender and receiver, was able to predict IBSA. This study adds to literature examining risk factors for IBSA and can further be utilized to provide guidance on prevention.



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