The Psychometric Assessment of a Comprehensive Problematic Pornography Use Instrument



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Researchers have spent decades attempting to understand the potential negative effects of pornography use. While these potential negative effects range from risky sexual behavior to relationship problems, the main concern of the current study involves the relationship of pornography use with sexual coercion. This line of inquiry has yielded valuable evidence indicating there is a relationship between the use of pornography and sexual coercion, though this relationship is not well understood. One key issue preventing researchers from understanding when pornography use becomes problematic, involves the inconsistent operationalization of pornography use, stemming from the lack of a comprehensive, valid, and reliable pornography use instrument. The goal of this dissertation is to fill this gap in the research through the development of such an instrument. A sample of 524 college age and general population males was used to develop the instrument, conduct reliability and validity analyses, and to examine if meaningful thresholds exist that could predict sexually coercive behavior. Additionally, two smaller sample were used to conduct a test-retest analysis, and to develop validity scales for the instrument. The analyses resulted in a 170-item instrument spanning previously identified domains of pornography use that demonstrated excellent reliability, as well as concurrent, convergent, and predictive validity. Additionally, thresholds for specific scales and the total score were identified. Findings from this study provide useful information for the operationalization of pornography use moving forward, through identifying latent factors that comprise the various aspects of pornography use identified in previous research. Additionally, the instrument developed in this study will not only serve as a tool for researchers hoping to better understand the relationship pornography use has with a host of sexual behaviors, but it can also serve to help professionals tasked with treating and supervising individuals who have sexually offended, as well as counselors tasked with treating individuals seeking help with compulsive pornography use. The results from the current study are an important first step in the development of the instrument. Future replication research using samples of individuals who have sexually offended, as well as replication among samples of women, is needed to further demonstrate its reliability and validity prior to widespread implementation.



Pornography use, Sexual coercion, Psychometrics, Instrument development, Assessment