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Psychology of religion and spirituality.

Previous research has suggested that individuals, particularly men, in the emerging adulthood stage of development (approximately 18-27 years of age) may use pornography as one way of "self-exploration and experimentation of sexual values and behaviors" (p. 136). Additionally, other research has identified that a significant portion of young men who view pornography do so "despite believing it to be unacceptable behavior" (p. 136). This research hypothesized that religiosity was one cause for someone believing pornography use to be unacceptable, and they sought to understand factors influencing pornography use by examining religious young men who did or did not engage in pornography use, but believed it to be unacceptable.

The purpose of Nelson, Padilla-Walker, &C Carroll's (2010) study of religious young men believing pornography use to be unacceptable behavior was to compare viewers and non-viewers of pornography on "indices of (a) family relationships, (b) religiosity (i.e., past/present personal religious practices, and past family religious practices), and (c) personal characteristics (identity development, depression, self-esteem, and drug use)" (p. 137). They hypothesized that pornography viewers, compared to non-viewers, would have lower quality relationships with their parents, engage in fewer religious practices, and possess less certainty about their identity, increased levels of depression, lower levels of self-esteem, and increased rates of drug use.

To test these hypotheses, 190 male undergraduate participants, ranging between the ages of 18 and 27 (M age = 2100, SD = 3.00), were recruited for the study through faculty announcements in undergraduate courses at a religious university in Western United States. All participants completed a 448-item survey battery measuring pornography acceptance and use, family relationships, religious beliefs and practices, and personal characteristics. Two items measured the participants' levels of pornography acceptance and use, respectively. Family relationships were measured using the short-version of the Social Provisions Questionnaire. Religious beliefs and practices were measured using the Santa Clara Strength or Religious Faith Questionnaire. Finally, for personal characteristics, the Ego Identity Process Questionnaire was used to measure identity. The Self-Perception Profile for College Students was used to measure self-esteem. The Adult Temperament Scale was used to measure levels of depression. And the Add Health Questionnaire was used to assess rates of drug use.

The results indicated that 100% of the sample believed viewing pornography was unacceptable, while 35% of the sample endorsed viewing pornography in the last 12 months. Three multivariate analyses of variance were conducted to identify any differences between the two groups (users vs. non-users) in the domains of family relationships, religiosity, and personal characteristics. No significant main effects were present in the effect of pornography use on family relationships, F(3, 169) = 2.48, ns. Significant main effects were found, however, in the effect of pornography use on religious practices, F(3, 178) = 7.83, p ----.001; and univariate follow-ups indicated that non-users, compared to users, recorded higher levels of past and recent religious practices, and higher levels of past family religious practices. Related to personal characteristics, significant multivariate main effects were found as well. Specifically, according to univariate follow-ups, non-users of pornography, compared to users, recorded higher levels of identity development regarding both family and dating, higher levels of self-worth, and lower levels of depression.

This study revealed that non-users of pornography reported higher levels of past and recent religious practices, including higher levels of past family religious practice, higher levels of identity development and self-worth, and lower levels of depression. The study's results suggest that pornography use may interfere with identity development in young men, and that regular religious involvement may reduce levels of pornography us. The researchers noted that the directions of the effects was not determined in this study, and therefore would be important to examine in future research. Limitations to the study included a non-representative sample drawn from religious college students from a single religious institution associated with one religion (Church of Jesus Christ and Latter Day Saints), and the constructs by which use and acceptance of pornography were measured.

"I Believe It Is Wrong But I Still Do It": A Comparison of Religious Young Men Who Do Versus Do Not Use Pornography

Vol. 2,136-147
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Title Annotation:JOURNAL FILE
Author:L., Nelson; L., Padilla-Walker; J., Carroll
Publication:Journal of Psychology and Theology
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 22, 2011
Previous Article:Journal of adult development.
Next Article:International journal for the psychology of religion.

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