Counseling Department


Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Dr. Fred Volk


Pornography, Religiousity, Sexual Fantasies, Sexual Behavior, Rape, Hypersexual Behavior, Cascade Development, Spiritual Identity


Social and Behavioral Sciences


Pornography use is widespread and may be associated with maladaptive outcomes, such as unhealthy attitudes toward women and unhealthy attitudes about sex. The links between pornography use and maladaptive outcomes may be particularly strong among individuals who adopt an identity that is opposed to the viewing of pornography, such as a faith-based identity. Couched in the context of cascade development theory, the present study examined associations between the age of onset of adolescent pornography use and maladaptive outcomes. Participants included males between the ages of 18 and 25 years recruited through’s Mechanical Turk interface. Participants completed a battery of questionnaires that assessed pornography use and psychosexual attitudes and behaviors. Results revealed that individuals exposed to pornography prior to age 15 years were more likely to view pornography as adults, reported more hypersexual behavior, and were more likely to report a likelihood to rape. Self-reported religious commitment did not moderate associations between age of onset and adult psychosexual outcomes, with one exception. Individuals with a high religious commitment were more likely to report hypersexual behaviors when age of onset was later in life. The findings from this study have implications for the development of healthy and unhealthy sexual attitudes and behaviors, as well as prevention and intervention efforts.