Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 44, Issue 1, pp 125–136 | Cite as

Transgression as Addiction: Religiosity and Moral Disapproval as Predictors of Perceived Addiction to Pornography

  • Joshua B. GrubbsEmail author
  • Julie J. Exline
  • Kenneth I. Pargament
  • Joshua N. Hook
  • Robert D. Carlisle
Original Paper


Perceived addiction to Internet pornography is increasingly a focus of empirical attention. The present study examined the role that religious belief and moral disapproval of pornography use play in the experience of perceived addiction to Internet pornography. Results from two studies in undergraduate samples (Study 1, N = 331; Study 2, N = 97) indicated that there was a robust positive relationship between religiosity and perceived addiction to pornography and that this relationship was mediated by moral disapproval of pornography use. These results persisted even when actual use of pornography was controlled. Furthermore, although religiosity was negatively predictive of acknowledging any pornography use, among pornography users, religiosity was unrelated to actual levels of use. A structural equation model from a web-based sample of adults (Study 3, N = 208) revealed similar results. Specifically, religiosity was robustly predictive of perceived addiction, even when relevant covariates (e.g., trait self-control, socially desirable responding, neuroticism, use of pornography) were held constant. In sum, the present study indicated that religiosity and moral disapproval of pornography use were robust predictors of perceived addiction to Internet pornography while being unrelated to actual levels of use among pornography consumers.


Internet pornography Religiosity Addiction Morality Sexuality 



In funding Study 1, we gratefully acknowledge support from the John Templeton Foundation, Grant # 36094: Study 3 was funded by a Research Seed Award Grant awarded to the first author of this manuscript by the American Psychological Association’s Division 36 (The Society for the Psychology of Religion and Spirituality).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joshua B. Grubbs
    • 1
    Email author
  • Julie J. Exline
    • 1
  • Kenneth I. Pargament
    • 2
  • Joshua N. Hook
    • 3
  • Robert D. Carlisle
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Psychological SciencesCase Western Reserve UniversityClevelandUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyBowling Green State UniversityBowling GreenUSA
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyUniversity of North TexasDentonUSA
  4. 4.Mesa Public SchoolsMesaUSA

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