Acceptance and commitment therapy as a treatment for problematic internet pornography viewing

Behav Ther. 2010 Sep;41(3):285-95. doi: 10.1016/j.beth.2009.06.002. Epub 2010 Jan 28.


Despite the prevalence of problematic Internet pornography viewing and the breadth of intervention approaches to potentially address it, no studies to address this problem have been reported to date. An emerging treatment approach, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), holds promise as a treatment for Internet pornography viewing because of its focus on processes hypothesized to underlie this maladaptive behavior. In the first experiment on the treatment of problematic Internet pornography viewing, 6 adult males who reported that their Internet pornography viewing was affecting their quality of life were treated in eight 1.5-hour sessions of ACT for problematic pornography viewing. The effects of the intervention were assessed in a multiple-baseline-across-participants design with time viewing pornography as the dependent variable. Treatment resulted in an 85% reduction in viewing at posttreatment with results being maintained at 3-month follow-up (83% reduction). Increases were seen on measures of quality of life, and reductions were seen on measures of OCD and scrupulosity. Weekly measures of ACT-consistent processes showed reductions that corresponded with reductions in viewing. Large reductions were seen on a measure of psychological flexibility, and minor reductions were seen on measures of thought-action fusion and thought control. Overall, results suggest the promise of ACT as a treatment for problematic Internet pornography viewing and the value of future randomized trials of this approach.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Erotica*
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Internet*
  • Male
  • Mental Processes
  • Psychological Tests
  • Quality of Life
  • Sexual Dysfunctions, Psychological / psychology
  • Sexual Dysfunctions, Psychological / therapy*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Thinking
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult