Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 46, Issue 6, pp 1747–1761 | Cite as

Pornography, Religion, and Parent–Child Relationship Quality

  • Samuel L. PerryEmail author
  • Kara J. Snawder
Original Paper


Frequent pornography use is often negatively associated with marital quality. Recent research has argued that this negative association is particularly strong for those who are embedded in religious communities, likely due to the greater stigma and shame associated with viewing pornography. In order to test and extend this theory, the current study examined how religious service attendance moderates the link between parents’ pornography consumption and four measures of parent–child relationship quality. Analyses of 2006 Portraits of American Life Study data (N = 2610) revealed that greater pornography viewing predicted negative outcomes on two out of four measures of parent–child relationship quality, while religious service attendance was associated with more positive parent–child relationship outcomes. Interaction effects, however, affirmed that the negative association between porn viewing frequency and three parent–child relationship outcomes was stronger for participants who attended religious services more often. Analyzing fathers (N = 771) and mothers (N = 904) separately revealed that the observed relationships held more consistently for fathers than mothers. Evidence for directionality was presented by incorporating re-interview data from 2012. While pornography use may be negatively associated with some aspects of parent–child relationship quality, this association was particularly strong for those embedded within religious communities, possibly owing to greater attendant guilt and shame.


Pornography Parenting Religion Religiosity Relationship quality 



This study did not receive any direct funding.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The author declares that he/she has no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants by any of the authors. Secondary data are used.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyUniversity of OklahomaNormanUSA

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