Theoretical Antecedents of Male Adolescents’ Problematic Pornography Use: A Longitudinal Assessment


Rousseau, Ann; Bőthe, Beáta; and Štulhofer, Aleksandar


2021 in The Journal of Sex Research

  • According to this longitudinal study of adolescents' pornography consumption, impulsiveness and anxiety/depresseion predicted more problematic pornography consumption in later adolescence. Religiosity moderated the relationship between earlier pornography consumption and later problematic pornography consumption, with more religious participants reporting more problematic pornography consumption
Although considerable research has examined the antecedents of adolescents’ pornography use (PU), little data exist on the underlying mechanisms of problematic pornography use (PPU) in adolescence. To bridge this gap, the current longitudinal study examined the long-term associations between adolescent boys’ PU frequency, PPU, and theory-based predictors of PPU. Testing three conceptual models (the moral incongruence, out of control, and mood management models), we examined the relative contributions of impulsivity,... READ FULL ABSTRACT
  • "Two main findings were obtained. First, pornography use was consistently, but weakly linked to PPU scores, irrespective of participants’ religiosity, negative mood, and impulsiveness. The frequency of pornography use at the age of 16 was associated with reported PPU scores at the age of 18. Higher PPU scores were also moderately related to growth in pornography use during the observed period. Secondly, our analysis corroborated the utility of all three conceptual models in explaining male adolescents’ PPU scores. Regardless of the frequency of pornography use, impulsiveness and depression/anxiety symptoms in middle adolescence directly and significantly predicted increased levels of PPU in late adolescence – as proposed by the out of control and mood management conceptual models."
  • "In line with Zillmann’s (1988) mood management theory, our results provide preliminary evidence that adolescent boys who experience more negative emotions (assessed by symptoms of depression and anxiety in the present study) would purposefully turn to pornography use for mood management, resulting in higher levels of PPU over time. Thus, compared to impulsive adolescents, those who report higher levels of depression/anxiety might rely on and use pornography to distract themselves from the experienced negative emotions and alter mood. Alternatively, it would also be possible that there exists a segment of adolescents showing both high levels of impulsiveness and negative mood. This group might be especially vulnerable to PPU as they are theorized to use pornography to avoid negative mood and have difficulties to stop using pornography when experiencing negative consequences (due to the immediate benefits – i.e., decreased negative mood – of PU)."
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