School of Behavioral Sciences


Doctor of Philosophy in Counselor Education and Supervision (PhD)


Fred Volk


Addiction, Pornography Use, Religiosity, Sexual Shame, Shame, Shame-Proneness


Counseling | Counselor Education | Social and Behavioral Sciences


Many compulsive and hypersexualized behaviors, including pornography use, have been associated with negative emotional, neurological, and psychosocial problems in a subset of users. Research showed that the constructs of shame, shame-proneness, and attachment may be related to the use of pornography as well as the theory of addiction. Shame-proneness is a construct that is consistently and positively associated with a variety of internalizing symptoms including depression, social, and generalized anxiety as well as a linked to an assortment of externalizing and risky behaviors such as anger, substance use, and criminal offending. Research suggested that higher levels of religiosity have a strong relationship to the moral disapproval of the use of pornography based on individual religious beliefs. This study examined the correlation between religiosity and sexual shame based on earlier research, which hypothesized that moral disapproval would mediate the relationship between religiosity and sexual shame. This research also hypothesized that shame-proneness would moderate the relationships between religiosity and moral disapproval, moral disapproval, and sexual shame, and finally the relationship between religiosity and sexual shame. The results showed that consistent with earlier research; moral disapproval mediated the relationship between religiosity and sexual shame. The study found that shame-proneness was a direct predictor of sexual shame however it did not moderate direct or indirect effects on the proposed theoretical relationships.