Problematic pornography use and mental health: a systematic review

Vieira, C. ORCID: 0009-0002-3561-8479 and Griffiths, M.D. ORCID: 0000-0001-8880-6524, 2024. Problematic pornography use and mental health: a systematic review. Sexual Health and Compulsivity. ISSN 2692-9953

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The present review aimed to synthesize the empirical evidence regarding the association between problematic pornography use (PPU) and mental health. A comprehensive literature search using keywords and subject headings was performed with three electronic databases, resulting in 20 studies that met the inclusion criteria. The patterns of association between PPU and mental health were examined, and the limitations of these studies were discussed. The overall findings suggest the relationship between PPU and mental health outcomes is not clear-cut, and it is often mediated by other factors such as loneliness, anxiety, and self-esteem. Further studies are required to evaluate the prevalence of PPU and both risk and protective factors which are associated with exposure to online pornography. Most studies relied on homogenous samples which have limited the generalizability of findings. The use of representative samples, including both males and females with different sexual orientations and from diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds, would strengthen our understanding of PPU and go further to expound on its controversies. Clinical recommendations and future directions are also discussed.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Sexual Health and Compulsivity
Creators: Vieira, C. and Griffiths, M.D.
Publisher: Routledge
Date: 10 May 2024
ISSN: 2692-9953
Rights: © 2024 the author(s). Published with license by Taylor & Francis Group. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives license (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way. the terms on which this article has been published allow the posting of the accepted manuscript in a repository by the author(s) or with their consent
Divisions: Schools > School of Social Sciences
Record created by: Jonathan Gallacher
Date Added: 13 May 2024 09:17
Last Modified: 13 May 2024 09:19

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