Predicting pornography use over time: Does self-reported "addiction" matter?

Addict Behav. 2018 Jul:82:57-64. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2018.02.028. Epub 2018 Mar 21.


In recent years, several works have reported on perceived addiction to internet pornography, or the potential for some individuals to label their own use of pornography as compulsive or out of control. Such works have consistently found that perceived addiction is related to concerning outcomes such as psychological distress, relational distress, and other addictive behaviors. However, very little work has specifically examined whether or not perceived addiction is actually related to increased use of pornography, cross-sectionally or over time. The present work sought to address this deficit in the literature. Using two longitudinal samples (Sample 1, Baseline N = 3988; Sample 2, Baseline N = 1047), a variety of factors (e.g., male gender, lower religiousness, and lower self-control) were found to predict any use of pornography. Among those that acknowledged use (Sample 1, Baseline N = 1352; Sample 2, Baseline N = 793), perceived addiction to pornography consistently predicted greater average daily use of pornography. At subsequent longitudinal follow-ups (Sample 1, Baseline N = 265; Sample 2, One Month Later, N = 410, One Year Later, N = 360), only male gender and baseline average pornography use consistently predicted future use. These findings suggest that perceived addiction to pornography is associated with concurrent use of pornography, but does not appear to predict use over time, suggesting that perceived addiction may not always be an accurate indicator of behavior or addiction.

Keywords: Addiction; Longitudinal; Perception; Pornography; Religion; Technology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Behavior, Addictive / psychology*
  • Erotica / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Loneliness / psychology
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Moral Status
  • Motivation
  • Patient Admission
  • Prognosis
  • Psychiatric Department, Hospital
  • Religion and Psychology
  • Self Report*
  • Self-Control
  • Social Desirability
  • Students / psychology
  • United States
  • Young Adult