Although a growing body of literature addresses the effects of young people's use of sexually explicit Internet material, research on the compulsive use of this type of online content among adolescents and its associated factors is largely lacking. This study investigated whether factors from three distinct psychosocial domains (i.e., psychological well-being, sexual interests/behaviors, and impulsive-psychopathic personality) predicted symptoms of compulsive use of sexually explicit Internet material among adolescent boys. Links between psychosocial factors and boys' compulsive use symptoms were analyzed both cross-sectionally and longitudinally with compulsive use symptoms measured 6 months later (T2). Data were used from 331 Dutch boys (M age = 15.16 years, range 11-17) who indicated that they used sexually explicit Internet material. The results from negative binomial regression analyses indicated that lower levels of global self-esteem and higher levels of excessive sexual interest concurrently predicted boys' symptoms of compulsive use of sexually explicit Internet material. Longitudinally, higher levels of depressive feelings and, again, excessive sexual interest predicted relative increases in compulsive use symptoms 6 months later. Impulsive and psychopathic personality traits were not uniquely related to boys' symptoms of compulsive use of sexually explicit Internet material. Our findings, while preliminary, suggest that both psychological well-being factors and sexual interests/behaviors are involved in the development of compulsive use of sexually explicit Internet material among adolescent boys. Such knowledge is important for prevention and intervention efforts that target the needs of specific problematic users of sexually explicit Internet material.
Keywords: Adolescents; Compulsive use; Psychological well-being; Sexual interest; Sexually explicit Internet material; Symptoms.