Skip to main content


Log in

The Relationship Between Sexual Compulsivity, Emotional and Spiritual Distress of Religious and Non-religious Internet Pornography Users

  • Original Paper
  • Published:
Journal of Religion and Health Aims and scope Submit manuscript

A Correction to this article was published on 13 August 2021

This article has been updated


This study sought to examine the relationship between the sexual compulsivity, emotional and spiritual distress of religious and non-religious adults who sought assessment for pornography addiction on the Internet. Religious (n = 350) and non-religious (n = 114) data were analyzed separately with a one-way between-subjects multivariate analysis of variance. The Kalichman Sexual Compulsivity Scale was used to divide the religious and non-religious into three groups: non-sexually compulsive (NCs); moderately sexually compulsive and sexually compulsive (SCs). All of the dependent variables, except age, were significantly higher for SCs than NCs for the religious. For the non-religious, all of the dependent variables, except age and time spent viewing Internet pornography (IP), were significantly higher for SCs than NCs. The non-religious spent significantly more time viewing IP than the religious. Yet, the religious were significantly more sexually compulsive. Emotional distress and spiritual distress were found to be significantly higher for SCs than the NCs regardless of religiosity. The non-religious were significantly more anxious and stressed than the religious. Specific religious affiliations did not have any significant bearing on the degree of sexual compulsivity. Religious practice, being associated with less viewing of IP, suggests the likelihood that moral reasons may provide some rationale for not viewing IP. At the same time, religious practice might reinforce shame in the addiction cycle thus religious individuals may be more at-risk to developing a compulsive pattern of viewing IP. The implications of the findings and suggestions for future research are presented.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2

Similar content being viewed by others

Change history


Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Jason T. Hotchkiss.

Ethics declarations

Conflict of interest

This study received no funding outside of the author’s personal expense. The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Animal Rights

This article does not contain any studies with animals performed by any of the authors.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Additional information

Publisher's Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

The original online version of this article was revised due to a retrospective Open Access cancellation.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Hotchkiss, J.T. The Relationship Between Sexual Compulsivity, Emotional and Spiritual Distress of Religious and Non-religious Internet Pornography Users. J Relig Health 60, 1630–1651 (2021).

Download citation

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: