Social Media Use, and Real-life Support From Friends Versus Online Support From Friends in Relation to Sexual Risk Behavior
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Adolescents are most at risk for showing sexual risk behavior. Two factors that are linked to sexual risk behavior are support from friends and social media use. Yet, insufficient knowledge was available about the role of online support from friends. In this study is examined whether social media use, and real-life and online support from friends were related to sexual risk behavior, defined as no condom use or birth control pill. Also is investigated whether support from friends can buffer the relation between social media use and sexual risk behavior. As both family support (negatively) and alcohol use (positively) are important predictors of sexual risk behavior, these factors were controlled for. The data were derived from the 2017 Health Behavior in School-aged Children (HBSC) study conducted in the Netherlands. A total of 622 participants (52,1% girls) were included with a mean age of 15.89 (SD = 1.36). The logistic regression analysis showed, contrary to expectations, that social media use, and real-life support from friends were not related to sexual risk behavior. For online support from friends a significant interaction effect was found. Alcohol use was not associated with sexual risk behavior, whereas family support was found as an important predictor.