Journal of Undergraduate Research


porn, pornography consumption, impulse control


Family, Home, and Social Sciences




As pornography becomes infinitely more accessible through the internet, the number of consumers increases at a rapid rate. Pornography abuse is shown to be a subcategory of hypersexuality (Grubbs, Volk, Exline, & Pargament, 2015), which is defined in the DSM-V as “a repetitive and intense preoccupation with sexual fantasies, urges, and behaviors, leading to adverse consequences”. Hypersexual behaviors have been linked to poorer impulse control (Miner et al., 2009; Prause, Steele et al., 2015; Reid, Cooper, Prause, Li, & Fong, 2012), and poorer impulse control has been related to many addictive behaviors such as substance abuse (Hardy, Steelman, Coyne, & Ridge, 2013; Yau, Potenza, & White, 2013). Additionally, pornography abuse itself has been categorized as an addictive behavior. While it has been found that more time spent indulging in this material is related to a lesser ability to self-regulate, the evidence supporting this association is only preliminary and moderators of this relationship have yet to be directly examined. Furthermore, evidence suggests that the relationship between pornography consumption and the psychological distress resulting from one’s perceived addiction to pornography may be moderated by one’s cognitive and affective evaluation of their consumption, not solely their frequency of consumption (Grubbs et al., 2015). The present research aims to advance our understanding of these relationships over the course of two studies. Study 1 examined the association between problematic pornography consumption (based on frequency of viewing) and self control using selfreport responses, hypothesizing that the odds of problematic pornography consumption (PPC) will increase as impulsivity increases. Once this association was established, we performed a second study using measurements of relevant demographic variables, level of pornography consumption, hypersexuality, perceived addiction to pornography, proneness to guilt, religious commitment, and both subjective and objective measures of impulse control, to gain a better understand of the relationship between PPC and impulse control. This includes how objective measures and personal evaluations of PPC and impulsivity differ, what factors may be responsible for these differences, and if stimuli (primes) of a sexual nature included in the objective measure of impulse control influence self-regulation differently in those with PPC. A better understanding of the complexities of these relationships will allow clinicians to better assist those coping with distress related to PPC.

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