An emerging literature suggests that females are more likely than males to take and post selfies and that such selfies tend to both conform to and legitimize the sexualization of femininity. It has been found that key predictors of selfie behaviors are narcissistic personality traits and that taking a higher number of selfies may, in turn, put young people at risk of engaging in negative social interactions online. No studies to date have investigated the mediating effects of selfies and, moreover, selfies that are taken with the intention of to appear physically attractive (i.e., sexualized selfies), on the relationship between narcissism and cyber behaviors. The following study examined selfie taking among a group of 262 adolescent girls (aged 13–16). Results of a path model found a serial mediation effect, indicating that exploitativeness was associated with increased selfie taking, which increased sexualized selfie taking and in turn increased cyber aggression and victimization. In contrast, contingent self-esteem was associated with taking sexualized selfies (with indirect positive effects on cyber behaviors). Results of this model also show that the effect of taking selfies on cyber behaviors is fully mediated by taking sexualized selfies. These findings are discussed in relation to the characteristics of the online environment and the risks of young women’s sexualized online self-presentations.
Stuart, J., & Kurek, A. (2019). Looking hot in selfies: Narcissistic beginnings, aggressive outcomes? International Journal of Behavioral Development, 43(6), 500–506. https://doi.org/10.1177/0165025419865621