School of Behavioral Sciences


Doctor of Education in Community Care and Counseling (EdD)


Fred Volk


shame experiences, perceived addiction, Internet pornography


Counseling | Psychology


Shame and guilt have been the topic of numerous research studies, particularly in differentiating the emotional outcomes of these two constructs. Shame experiences have been more associated with depression, overwhelming negative affect, aggression, anger, withdrawal, avoidance and blaming others. Guilt tends to produce healthy responses such as reparations for poor behavior or choices. Research abounds on the concept of self-perceived addiction to pornography, particularly with individuals who have firm religious or moral beliefs regarding pornography (moral incongruence). However, research addressing the direct effect of experiences of shame (shame feelings in the moment) on its relationship to perceived addiction to pornography is lacking. The investigation of the results of pornography use by those who have strong moral beliefs tends to demonstrate an increase in these individuals believing they are addicted to Internet pornography and points towards compulsive use of pornography viewing. There is little research, however, on the impact of specific experiences of shame (characterological, behavioral, and body) to one’s belief that they are addicted to pornography. Furthermore, do men and women’s frequency of Internet pornography use within the past month have any relevance when looking at the relationship of high levels of experiences of shame to the idea that these individuals believe they are addicted to pornography? This study will investigate the conditional effects of Internet pornography use within the past month on the relationship between experiences of characterological, behavioral and bodily shame and one’s personal belief that they are addicted to pornography.