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Attitudes of U.S. and Czech/Slovak mental health and health professionals toward five types of sexually explicit materials

Abstract

Mental health and health professionals' attitudes toward sexually explicit materials in the U.S. and Czech/Slovak Republics were investigated. An instrument measuring attitudes toward educational, soft-core, hard-core, violence, and bizarre/paraphiliac sexually explicit materials was administered to sexologists, psychologist/counselors, and medical professionals. These professionals were attending conferences in the U.S. and the Czech/Slovak Republics between November 1992 and September 1993. Mental health and health professionals had the most favorable attitudes toward educational sexually explicit materials followed by soft-core and hard-core materials, respectively. They had unfavorable attitudes toward violent and bizarre/paraphiliac sexually explicit materials, with particularly negative attitudes toward violent materials. Analysis of covariance showed that strength of religious conviction was a significant covariate; thus professionals with stronger religious conviction had more negative attitudes toward all five types of sexually explicit materials. When controlling for strength of religious conviction: (i) sexologists had more positive attitudes toward most types of sexually explicit materials; (ii) Czech professionals generally had more positive attitudes toward such materials than their U.S. counterparts; and (iii) there were few differences between female and male professionals in their reported attitudes. While previous literature has reported gender differences in attitudes toward sexually explicit materials, findings from this study suggest that this effect may be due to differences in religiosity among women and men, namely, that women tend to be more religious.

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A special thanks to the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues (SPSSI) who generously funded the international communications costs of the study and to Renee Rich who convinced SPSSI about the merit of this project. Resources and assistance from the Program in Human Sexuality, Department of Family Practice and Community Health, University of Minnesota Medical School made this study possible.

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Robinson, B.“.E., Scheltema, K., Koznar, J. et al. Attitudes of U.S. and Czech/Slovak mental health and health professionals toward five types of sexually explicit materials. Arch Sex Behav 25, 601–628 (1996). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02437842

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Key Words

  • pornography
  • professionals' attitudes
  • sexually explicit materials
  • cross-cultural
  • Czech/Slovak
  • gender