Frequency of pornography use is indirectly associated with lower relationship confidence through depression symptoms and physical assault among Chinese young adults (2011)

Conner, Stacy R.

Using data from young adults (N = 224) living in Beijing and Guangzhou, China this study examined the direct association between frequency of pornography use and relationship confidence and indirect associations through depression symptoms and physical assault. Results using structural equation modeling demonstrated that higher frequency of pornography use was indirectly linked with lower relationship confidence via depression symptoms and physical assault. These findings are informed by Social Constructionist Theory (Gergen, 1985), which considers how individuals take what they understand from their culture, exposure to material such as pornography, and other social experiences to develop and make meaning of who they are within their relational context.

Consumption of pornography is becoming more common in China (Lam & Chan, 2007) and around the world. This growth of pornography use leads us to believe it will continue and initial evidence points to its impact on relationships. Our research findings include how pornography use is indirectly associated with relationship confidence, specifically through higher levels of depression symptoms and physical assault. We should be concerned as researchers, educators, and clinicians about the well-being of those who use pornography and exhibit negative coping skills that put them at risk for perpetrating physical assault. Improved understanding of the ways in which pornography use impacts relationship outcomes is essential for improving our ability as researchers, educators, and therapists to help couples maintain healthy relationships.

Keywords: Couple outcomes; Depression; Physical assault; Pornography; Relationship confidence