Date of Award

2019

Publication Type

Doctoral Thesis

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Patti Timmons Fritz

Keywords

Ambivalent Sexism, Coercive Control, Couple Dyads, Intimate Partner Violence, Pornography

Rights

info:eu-repo/semantics/openAccess

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Abstract

The current study examined pornography consumption, intimate partner aggression/violence (IPAV), and other relevant variables in emerging adult heterosexual couple dyads on two separate occasions over a span of four months. This study had four main objectives: (a) to examine the association between frequency of pornography consumption and IPAV (physical, sexual, and psychological) at the couple-level, (b) to test the moderating effects of coercive control and a composite of several behavioural and experiential risk factors for aggression (e.g., violence in the family of origin, delinquency, history of aggression) on the relation between frequency of pornography use and IPAV, (d) to assess the mediating effects of benevolent and hostile sexism on the relation between frequency of pornography consumption and IPAV, and (d) to evaluate if frequency of pornography consumption predicts IPAV four months later while controlling for baseline levels of IPAV. Participants completed online measures of pornography consumption, IPAV, and other relevant factors at baseline (254 couples; N = 508) and a 4-month follow-up (132 couples; N = 264). Using the actor-partner interdependence model (APIM; Kenny, Kashy, & Cook, 2006), results from the analyses at baseline indicated that men’s and women’s frequency of pornography use did not significantly predict their rate of IPAV perpetration or victimization, but bivariate analyses showed a positive relation between frequency of pornography use and IPAV perpetration among both men and women. The moderations with coercive control and composite risk of aggression were statistically significant, but contrary to expectations, frequent pornography use predicted higher levels of IPAV for those with low levels of coercive control and composite risk of aggression. Women who were very controlling of their partners or were at high risk of aggression had a lower risk of IPAV if they heavily consumed pornography. Men who frequently used pornography had an elevated risk of experiencing IPAV if their female partners had a high risk of aggression but had a lower risk of IPAV victimization when their female partners were quite controlling of them. The proposed mediations with benevolent and hostile sexism were not supported. Results from the longitudinal APIM across baseline and the 4-month follow-up showed that men who frequently consumed pornography at baseline had higher rates of IPAV perpetration and victimization at the 4-month follow-up when their initial levels of IPAV were controlled for as did their female partners, but women’s pornography consumption at baseline did not predict changes in IPAV. Future research should aim to evaluate how frequency of pornography consumption predicts different types of IPAV (e.g., physical, sexual, psychological) and evaluate separate models for men and women as it seems that there may be sex-specific pathways for the risk factors for IPAV examined in this study. Overall, findings from this study indicated that frequent pornography consumption in men predicts couples’ rates of IPAV increasing over time, but the association between pornography consumption and IPAV is nuanced, and it seems that pornography consumption can serve as a risk factor or a mitigating factor for IPAV depending on the context of what other risk factors for IPAV are present.

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