Viewing Child Pornography: Prevalence and Correlates in a Representative Community Sample of Young Swedish Men
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Most research on child pornography use has been based on selected clinical or criminal justice samples; risk factors for child pornography use in the general population remain largely unexplored. In this study, we examined prevalence, risk factors, and correlates of viewing depictions of adult–child sex in a population-representative sample of 1,978 young Swedish men (17–20 years, Mdn = 18 years, overall response rate, 77 %). In an anonymous, school-based survey, participants self-reported sexual coercion experiences, attitudes and beliefs about sex, perceived peer attitudes, and sexual interests and behaviors; including pornography use, sexual interest in children, and sexually coercive behavior. A total of 84 (4.2 %) young men reported they had ever viewed child pornography. Most theory-based variables were moderately and significantly associated with child pornography viewing and were consistent with models of sexual offending implicating both antisociality and sexual deviance. In multivariate logistic regression analysis, 7 of 15 tested factors independently predicted child pornography viewing and explained 42 % of the variance: ever had sex with a male, likely to have sex with a child aged 12–14, likely to have sex with a child 12 or less, perception of children as seductive, having friends who have watched child pornography, frequent pornography use, and ever viewed violent pornography. From these, a 6-item Child Pornography Correlates Scale was constructed and then cross-validated in a similar but independent Norwegian sample.
KeywordsChild pornography use Antisociality Sexual deviance Sex offenders against children
The Swedish survey was funded by the Swedish Ministry of Health and Social Affairs and the Norwegian survey was funded by the Norwegian Ministry of Child and Family Affairs. The research network that conducted the Baltic Sea Regional Study on Adolescent Sexuality was funded by the Norwegian Research Council. Niklas Långström was funded by the Swedish Research Council. We thank Dr. Svein Mossige for access to the Norwegian data used to cross-validate our Child Pornography Correlates Scale. The authors have no financial interests to disclose regarding this study.
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