pornography, emerging adulthood, religiosity, identity


While researchers have found a negative association between religiosity and pornography use, little, if any, research has examined the specific aspects of religiosity that might be related the use of pornography. Therefore, the purpose of this study of religious young men was to compare those who view pornography with those who do not on indices of (a) family relationships, (b) religiosity (i.e., beliefs, past/present personal religious practices, and past family religious practices), and (c) personal characteristics (identity development, depression, self-esteem, and drug use). Participants were 192 emerging-adult men ages 18-27 (M age = 21.00, SD = 3.00) attending a religious university in the Western United States. While they all believed pornography to be unacceptable, those who did not use pornography (compared to those who did) reported (a) higher levels of past and recent individual religious practices, (b) past family religious practices, (c) higher levels of self-worth and identity development regarding dating and family, and (d) lower levels of depression.

Original Publication Citation

Nelson, L. J., Padilla-Walker, L. M., & Carroll, J. S.(2010). “I Believe It Is Wrong But I Still Do It”: A Comparison of Religious Young Men Who Do Versus Do Not Use Pornography. Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, 2, 136-147.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date


Permanent URL


Psychology of Religion and Spirituality




Family, Home, and Social Sciences


Family Life

University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor