Sex Roles

, Volume 73, Issue 5–6, pp 187–199 | Cite as

Male Partners’ Perceived Pornography Use and Women’s Relational and Psychological Health: The Roles of Trust, Attitudes, and Investment

  • Dawn M. SzymanskiEmail author
  • Chandra E. Feltman
  • Trevor L. Dunn
Original Article


The purpose of this study was to examine the mediating role of relationship trust in the links between young adult women’s perceptions of their male partners’ pornography use and their relational and psychological health. An additional purpose of this study was to examine the potential moderating roles of women’s attitudes toward pornography and relationship investment in the links between their male partners’ perceived pornography use and their relational and psychological health and between their male partners’ perceived pornography use and relationship trust. Participants included 359 young adult college women who were recruited at a large United States Southern public university and completed an online survey. Results revealed that women’s reports of their male partners’ pornography use were related to less relationship satisfaction and more psychological distress. In addition, relationship trust mediated the links between male partners’ perceived pornography use and relationship satisfaction and psychological distress. Results from the moderation analyses indicated that the direct effect of male partners’ perceived pornography use and relationship trust and the conditional indirect effects of male partners’ perceived pornography use on both relationship satisfaction and psychological distress were contingent on relationship investment. These findings indicated that when male partners’ perceived pornography use is high, women who have low or mean levels of relationship investment have less relationship trust. Finally, our results revealed that the relationship between male partners’ perceived pornography use and relational and psychological outcomes exist regardless of women’s own attitudes toward pornography.


Pornography Relationship quality Mental health Psychological distress 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


The authors received no financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.

Informed Consent

The research involved human participants and included an informed consent that was approved by the University of Tennessee’s Institutional Review Board.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dawn M. Szymanski
    • 1
    Email author
  • Chandra E. Feltman
    • 1
  • Trevor L. Dunn
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of TennesseeKnoxvilleUSA

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