The Association Between Exposure to Violent Pornography and Teen Dating Violence in Grade 10 High School Students

Abstract

Exposure to pornography in general has been linked with adolescent dating violence and sexual aggression, but less is known about exposure to violent pornography specifically. The current study examined the association of violent pornography exposure with different forms of teen dating violence (TDV) using baseline survey data from a sample of Grade 10 high school students who reported being in a dating relationship in the past year (n = 1694). Gender-stratified logistic regression models generated odds ratios adjusted for demographics, substance use, history of suspension/expulsion, gender equitable attitudes, and tolerance of rape myths to identify significant associations between violent pornography exposure and self-reported physical, sexual, and threatening TDV perpetration and victimization. Violent pornography exposure was associated with all types of TDV, though patterns differed by gender. Boys exposed to violent pornography were 2–3 times more likely to report sexual TDV perpetration and victimization and physical TDV victimization, while girls exposed to violent pornography were over 1.5 times more likely to be perpetrate threatening TDV compared to their non-exposed counterparts. Comprehensive prevention strategies for TDV may consider the potential risks associated with exposure to violent pornography, particularly for boys, and provide an alternative source of education about healthy sexual behavior and relationships.

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Acknowledgements

Funding was provided by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Grant No. U01-CE002531).

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Correspondence to Whitney L. Rostad.

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Rostad, W.L., Gittins-Stone, D., Huntington, C. et al. The Association Between Exposure to Violent Pornography and Teen Dating Violence in Grade 10 High School Students. Arch Sex Behav 48, 2137–2147 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-019-1435-4

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Keywords

  • Teen dating violence
  • Pornography
  • Risk factors
  • Violence prevention