How does religious attendance shape trajectories of pornography use across adolescence?

J Adolesc. 2016 Jun;49:191-203. doi: 10.1016/j.adolescence.2016.03.017. Epub 2016 Apr 16.


Research increasingly calls attention to the possibility of detrimental consequences of pornography use among adolescents. However, few studies examine adolescent pornography consumption longitudinally or consistently examine the role of religion in shaping pornography consumption, despite an established theoretical basis for the moderating effects of religious attendance on pornography consumption. Using a national longitudinal survey that follows respondents from adolescence into young adulthood, we show that pornography use increases sharply with age, especially among boys. Pornography consumption is weaker at higher levels of religious attendance, particularly among boys, and religious attendance also weakens age-based increases in pornography consumption for both boys and girls. Overall, pornography use increases across adolescence into young adulthood, but immersion in a religious community can help weaken these increases. Future research should follow respondents across adulthood, as well as examine additional aspects of religiosity (e.g., types of religious belief or the regular practice of prayer).

Keywords: Adolescence; Pornography; Religious attendance.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Age Factors
  • Erotica / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Religion and Sex*
  • Sex Factors