School of Behavioral Sciences


Doctor of Philosophy in Counselor Education and Supervision (PhD)


Fred Volk


Religiosity, Pornography Use, Moral Disapproval, Perceived Addiction, God-image, Externalization


Counseling | Education


Research has indicated a positive correlation among religious individuals who view pornography and report experiencing increased moral incongruence and perceived addiction as a result of their use. Research also shows how one views God (loving, distant, and cruel), known as God-image, can attenuate or exacerbate psychological distress associated with pornography use and or religious/spiritual struggles. Recently a small number of studies have shown externalization, the tendency to blame others, as an effective coping mechanism in the reduction of sexual shame. Based on Grubbs, Perry, et al., (2019) theoretical model, pornography problems due to moral incongruence (PPMI), this study aimed to explore the effects that God-image and externalization could have on the relationship between moral disapproval and perceived addiction. Additionally, this study examined the moderated moderation externalization might have of the relationship of God-image and moral disapproval and perceived addiction. As hypothesized, the results indicated that God-image: loving had a significant negative effect on perceived addiction, whereas God-image: distant and cruel both had significant negative effects on perceived addiction. Contrary to the hypothesis, results indicated externalization had a positive effect on perceived addiction. Lastly, this study analyzed the three-way interaction of externalization, God-image and the relationship of moral disapproval and perceived addiction. Results indicated externalization had significant negative effects on perceived addiction when individuals viewed God as distant and cruel at varying levels of externalization. No significant results were reported for the three-way interaction when individuals viewed God as loving.