Psicothema was founded in Asturias (northern Spain) in 1989, and is published jointly by the Psychology Faculty of the University of Oviedo and the Psychological Association of the Principality of Asturias (Colegio Oficial de Psicólogos del Principado de Asturias).
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Risk factors for being a victim of online grooming in adolescents

Konstanze Schoeps1, Montserrat Peris Hernández2, Maite Garaigordobil2, and Inmaculada Montoya-Castilla1

1 Universitat de València, and
2 Universidad del País Vasco

Background: The risk of child grooming has spread exponentially with the massive access of adolescents to social networks and the internet. The aim of the study was to examine the personal factors (body self-esteem and disinhibition) and erotic-sexual factors (sexual initiation strategies and erotic-pornographic sexting) that predict grooming. Method: The sample was comprised of 1,200 adolescents aged between 12 and 16 years (M = 14.54, SD = 1.17; 50.83% girls). A cross-sectional design with self-report data was used and structural equation modeling (SEM) with mediation analysis was performed. Results: The results indicated two paths explaining child grooming: 1) physical attractiveness and disinhibition are indirectly associated with grooming through erotic sexting and direct sexual initiation strategies; both of which partially mediate this relationship; 2) disinhibited behavior has an indirect impact on grooming; pornographic sexting and coercive strategies acting as mediators. The semi-partial mediation model explains 54% of the variance of grooming. Conclusions: These findings highlight the urgent need to implement prevention programs considering these attitudes and behaviors that function as precursors of victimization and the risk of falling into pedophile networks.

Factores de riesgo de ser víctima de online grooming en adolescentes. Antecedentes: el riesgo de grooming se ha propagado exponencialmente con el acceso masivo de los adolescentes a las redes sociales y al internet. El objetivo del estudio fue conocer los factores personales (autoestima corporal y desinhibición) y los factores erótico-sexuales (estrategias de avance sexual y sexting erótico-pornográfico) que predicen el grooming. Método: los participantes fueron 1.200 adolescentes entre 12 y 16 años (M = 14.54, DT = 1.17, 50.83 % chicas). Se utilizó un diseño transversal con datos de auto-informes y se aplicó un modelo de ecuaciones estructurales (SEM) con análisis de mediación. Resultados: los resultados indican dos vías para explicar el grooming: 1) el atractivo físico y la desinhibición influyen en el grooming de forma indirecta a través del sexting erótico y las estrategias de avance sexual directas que median parcialmente esta relación; 2) la conducta desinhibida tiene un impacto indirecto sobre el grooming, actuando como mediadores el sexting pornográfico y las estrategias de coerción. El modelo de mediación explica un 54 % de la varianza del grooming. Conclusiones: estos resultados nos alertan de la necesidad de implementar programas preventivos considerando estas actitudes y conductas, que funcionan como factores de riesgo de la victimización y de caer en redes pedófilas.


Impact factor 2021:   JCR (WOS): 4.104 (Q1)   |   SJR (Scopus) : 1.308 (Q1)    |  CiteScore 2020: 5,3