School of Behavioral Sciences


Doctor of Education in Community Care and Counseling (EdD)


Jennifer Weniger


Pornography, Perceived Addiction, Social Anxiety, Shame, Grace


Counseling | Social and Behavioral Sciences


For decades, researchers have examined the relationship between pornography use, anxiety, and depression. The emotional component of shame has also been explored in connection with pornography use and other addictive behaviors. Recently, scholars have started to consider how the pornography user’s moral values and religious beliefs influenced their usage and outcome behaviors (Baltazar, Helm, H. W., McBride, Hopkins, & Stevens, J. V., 2010; Bradley, Grubbs, Uzdavines, Exline, & Pargament, 2016; Hook et al., 2015). Extensive resources have been dedicated to investigating the male gender’s usage of pornography both in solitude and relational settings (Hald, 2006; Manning, 2006; Twohig, Crosby, & Cox, 2009). Significantly less research has aimed to increase the knowledge surrounding the female gender’s consumption of pornography (Borgogna & McDermott, 2018; Gola et al., 2017; Grubbs, Exline, Pargament, Hook, & Carlisle, 2015). To rectify this shortage of knowledge, the present study draws attention to the female user and how her pornography usage negatively impacts her self-concept and her relationships through an examination of the variables perceived addiction, social anxiety, and shame, moderated by grace. The inclusion criteria for this study specified age over 18 years old, classification as female gender, proficiency in English, an identification of the Christian faith, and use of pornography within the previous week. Four hundred and seventy participants completed assessments addressing perceived addiction for pornography use, shame as an internal and external emotion, social anxiety distress, and the religious aspect of grace. Quantitative analysis used both Pearson’s Correlation Analysis for relationships between variables and linear regression with mediation and moderation to test for effects. Results suggested that perceived addiction to use is associated with increased global shame and social anxiety and increased external shame and social anxiety. Grace was found to be significantly negatively associated with all research variables. However, the findings of this research study did not support the moderated mediation of grace for perceived addiction to shame to social anxiety.

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