The Role of Religiosity in Adolescents' Compulsive Pornography Use: A Longitudinal Assessment

J Sex Marital Ther. 2018;44(8):759-775. doi: 10.1080/0092623X.2018.1466012. Epub 2018 May 22.


Despite increasing concerns that adolescent men are vulnerable to developing compulsive pornography use, little research has been done in this area. Given recent theorizing and research concerning moral incongruence, we hypothesized that symptoms of compulsive pornography use should generally be associated with higher levels of pornography use and increased growth in male adolescent pornography use over time, but that this pattern would be attenuated among very religious participants. These hypotheses were tested with mixed effects growth models using two independent panel samples of male Croatian adolescents. As expected, adolescent men who reported features of compulsive pornography use tended to exhibited higher levels of pornography use. However, contrary to expectations, increased growth in pornography use was limited to more religious compulsive users. Compared to nonreligious compulsive users, these adolescents started with lower initial levels of pornography use and their use increased over time at a greater rate of change. This study's results are the first to suggest that some adolescent men who report high levels of pornography use tend to exhibit symptoms of compulsive use, which highlights a need for counseling and therapeutic attention. Our findings also have implications for the emerging theory of moral incongruence.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior / psychology*
  • Compulsive Behavior / psychology*
  • Croatia
  • Erotica / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Permissiveness
  • Religion and Psychology*
  • Self Concept*
  • Sexual Behavior / psychology