The purpose of this study was to examine relations between adolescent religiosity and pornography use, and the roles of self-regulation, attitudes towards pornography, and social control as mediators of these relations. It was hypothesized that religiosity would protect adolescents from exposure to pornography by increasing their self-regulation capacity, their conservative attitudes about pornography, and their perceived social norms regarding pornography. The sample consisted of 419 adolescents (ages 15 - 18 years; M age = 15.68, SD = .98; 56% male) recruited online from across the U.S. Participants completed an online survey. All variables were bivariately associated as expected. Path models were used to examine the hypotheses regarding links between religiosity (religious internalization, religious involvement, and religious salience) and pornography use (purposeful and accidental) by way of mediators (self-regulation, attitudes towards pornography, and social control). This proposed model was partially supported by the analyses. Models without direct effects from the religiosity variables to pornography use fit the data as well as those with the direct paths, and thus the full mediation models were preferred (as they were more parsimonious). Religious salience had the strongest bivariate relationships while religious internalization revealed the most significant indirect paths. Religious involvement had the strongest indirect paths in the models. Attitudes towards pornography had the most effects as a mediator for purposeful pornography viewing, though all mediators played some role. For accidental pornography viewing, social control had the most effects, with attitudes towards pornography having no effect at all. The findings suggest that religiosity may protect adolescents from purposeful and accidental exposure to pornography, and that self-regulation, attitudes towards pornography, and social control may serve as mechanisms underlying these protective effects.



College and Department

Family, Home, and Social Sciences; Psychology



Date Submitted


Document Type





religiosity, pornography, adolescence

Included in

Psychology Commons