Lead author Jeff Temple, an assistant professor at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, and colleagues surveyed nearly 1,000 students at seven public high schools in southeastern Texas found 28 percent of adolescents have sent nude pictures of themselves through electronic means.
Fifty-seven percent have been asked to send a nude picture and 31 percent have asked for a nude picture to be sent to them, the study said.
Temple said the findings were based on a much larger and more diverse sample than those used in previous research, providing a more accurate depiction of U.S. adolescents' sexting behaviors than previous online polls that estimated only 1 percent of teens had sent naked pictures of themselves.
"We found that teens are generally bothered by being asked to send a naked picture," Temple said in a statement. "In fact, nearly all girls were bothered by having been asked, and among boys, more than half were bothered at least a little."
The study, published in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, also found male and females who engaged in a variety of sexting behaviors were overwhelmingly more likely to have had sex than their peers who have not experienced sexting.
In addition, teen girls, but not boys, who engaged in sexting had a higher prevalence of risky sexual behaviors.