Male Partners’ Perceived Pornography Use and Women’s Relational and Psychological Health: The Roles of Trust, Attitudes, and Investment (2015)

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Sex Roles

September 2015, Volume 73, Issue 5, pp 187-199

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  • Dawn M. Szymanski 
  • , Chandra E. Feltman
  • , Trevor L. Dunn 

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine the mediating role of relationship trust in the links between young adult women’s perceptions of their male partners’ pornography use and their relational and psychological health. An additional purpose of this study was to examine the potential moderating roles of women’s attitudes toward pornography and relationship investment in the links between their male partners’ perceived pornography use and their relational and psychological health and between their male partners’ perceived pornography use and relationship trust.

Participants included 359 young adult college women who were recruited at a large United States Southern public university and completed an online survey. Results revealed that women’s reports of their male partners’ pornography use were related to less relationship satisfaction and more psychological distress. In addition, relationship trust mediated the links between male partners’ perceived pornography use and relationship satisfaction and psychological distress. Results from the moderation analyses indicated that the direct effect of male partners’ perceived pornography use and relationship trust and the conditional indirect effects of male partners’ perceived pornography use on both relationship satisfaction and psychological distress were contingent on relationship investment. These findings indicated that when male partners’ perceived pornography use is high, women who have low or mean levels of relationship investment have less relationship trust. Finally, our results revealed that the relationship between male partners’ perceived pornography use and relational and psychological outcomes exist regardless of women’s own attitudes toward pornography.

Keywords: Pornography Relationship quality Mental health Psychological distress