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Use of Pornography and its Associations with Sexual Experiences, Lifestyles and Health among Adolescents
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Women's and Children's Health.
2014 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The overall aim of this thesis was to investigate pornography consumption and its relation to sexual experiences, lifestyles, health and perceptions of sexuality and pornography. One qualitative study (focus group discussions) and one prospective longitudinal quantitative study (baseline and follow-up questionnaires) are included.

The core category emerging from the focus group discussions, among personnel working with adolescents, was “Conflicting messages about sexuality”. The participants’ stated that the message conveyed by pornography was contradictory to the message conveyed by national public health goals and laws. A professional approach was emphasized, and adequate methods and knowledge to improve sexuality and relationship education were requested (I).

Participants at baseline in 2011 were 477 boys and 400 girls, aged 16 years. Almost all boys (96%) and 54% of the girls had watched pornography. The boys were categorized into frequent users (daily), average users (every week or a few times every month) and nonfrequent users (a few times a year, seldom or never) of pornography. A higher proportion of frequent users reported experience of sex with friends, the use of alcohol, a sedentary lifestyle, peer-relationship problems and obesity. One-third watched more pornography than they actually wanted to (II).

There were few differences between pornography-consuming girls and boys regarding fantasies about sexual acts, attempted sexual acts inspired by pornography and perceptions of pornography. Predictors for being sexually experienced included: being a girl, attending a vocational high school programme, stating that boys and girls are equally interested in sex, and having a positive perception of pornography. Boys were generally more positive towards pornography than girls (III).

Participants at follow-up in 2013 were 224 boys (47%) and 238 girls (60%). Being male, attending a vocational high school programme and being a frequent user of pornography at baseline predicted frequent use at follow-up. Frequent use of pornography at baseline predicted psychosomatic symptoms to a higher extent at follow-up than depressive symptoms (IV).

In conclusion, pornography has become a part of everyday life for many adolescents. Frequent users of pornography were mainly boys, and there were minor differences in sexual experiences between the male consumption groups. Frequent use was associated with lifestyle problems, such as the use of alcohol and a sedentary lifestyle to a higher extent than with sexual experiences and physical symptoms. In the longitudinal analyses frequent use of pornography was more associated to psychosomatic symptoms compared with depressive symptoms. Access to pornography will presumably remain unrestrained. It is therefore important to offer adolescents arenas for discussing pornography in order to counterbalance the fictional world presented in pornography, increase awareness regarding the stereotyped gender roles in pornography and address unhealthy lifestyles and ill health among adolescents.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2014. , 82 p.
Series
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Medicine, ISSN 1651-6206 ; 974
Keyword [en]
Adolescents, Pornography, Sexuality, Sexual experiences, Lifestyles, Health
National Category
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
Research subject
Medical Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-218279ISBN: 978-91-554-8881-9 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-218279DiVA: diva2:696130
Public defence
2014-03-28, Aulan, Ing 21, Västmanlands sjukhus, Västerås, 09:15 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2014-03-07 Created: 2014-02-10 Last updated: 2014-04-29
List of papers
1. Professionals’ perceptions of the effect of pornography on Swedish adolescents
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Professionals’ perceptions of the effect of pornography on Swedish adolescents
2014 (English)In: Public Health Nursing, ISSN 0737-1209, E-ISSN 1525-1446, Vol. 31, no 3, 196-205 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Objective:The aims were to gain a deeper understanding of how personnel, who work with adolescents, reason about the effect of pornography and its spread in the media, and to explore how well prepared they consider themselves to be in addressing sexual health and gender equality.

Design and Sample: An inductive, exploratory, qualitative study with focus group discussions was selected. Seventeen participants with different professions were invited into five heterogeneous groups.

Measures: Data were analyzed according to grounded theory. Results: Conflicting messages about sexuality became the core category. Participants were of the opinion that pornography conveyed a contradictory message compared with national public health goals, societal laws, and regulations. They believed that young people use pornography as a source of information and stimulation. Furthermore, they thought that pornography contributed to norm-creating ideals and a demanding sexuality, thus, confirming the traditional gender order. The participants opined that a professional approach was required when addressing sexuality and gender equality issues and requested better training tools and more cultural competence.

Conclusions: Professionals working with adolescents perceived that pornography conveys a conflicting message about sexuality. They expressed a need for adequate tools for improving education on health and sexuality, including gender equality aspects and critical media analysis.

Keyword
adolescents, grounded theory, health education, personnel, pornography
National Category
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-217335 (URN)10.1111/phn.12058 (DOI)000334045300002 ()
Available from: 2014-02-10 Created: 2014-02-03 Last updated: 2017-12-06Bibliographically approved
2. Pornography consumption, sexual experiences, lifestyles, and self-rated health among male adolescents in Sweden
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Pornography consumption, sexual experiences, lifestyles, and self-rated health among male adolescents in Sweden
Show others...
2013 (English)In: Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, ISSN 0196-206X, E-ISSN 1536-7312, Vol. 34, no 7, 460-468 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

OBJECTIVE

To describe patterns of pornography use among high school boys and to investigate differences between frequent, average, and nonfrequent users of pornography with respect to sexual experiences, lifestyles, and self-rated health.

METHODS

A population-based classroom survey among 16-year-old boys (n = 477), from 53 randomly selected high school classes in 2 towns in mid-Sweden.

RESULTS

Almost all boys, 96% (n = 453), had watched pornography. Frequent users of pornography (everyday) (10%, n = 47) differed from average users (63%, n = 292) and nonfrequent users (27%, n = 126). Frequent users versus average users and nonfrequent users had more sexual experiences, such as one night stands (45, 32, 25%, respectively) and sex with friends more than 10 times (13, 10, 2%). A higher proportion of frequent users spent more than 10 straight hours at the computer several times a week (32, 5, 8%) and reported more relationship problems with peers (38, 22, 21%), truancy at least once a week (11, 6, 5%), obesity (13, 3, 3%), use of oral tobacco (36, 29, 20%), and use of alcohol (77, 70, 52%) versus average and nonfrequent users. One third of frequent users watched more pornography than they actually wanted. There were no differences between the groups regarding physical and psychological self-rated health.

CONCLUSIONS

The boys, defined as frequent users of pornography, were more sexually experienced, spent more time at the computer, and reported an unhealthier lifestyle compared with average and nonfrequent users. No differences regarding self-rated health were detected even though obesity was twice as common among frequent users.

National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-214708 (URN)10.1097/DBP.0b013e31829c44a2 (DOI)000330359000002 ()23899659 (PubMedID)
Available from: 2014-01-09 Created: 2014-01-09 Last updated: 2017-12-06Bibliographically approved
3. Pornography and sexual experiences among high school students in Sweden
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Pornography and sexual experiences among high school students in Sweden
Show others...
2014 (English)In: Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, ISSN 0196-206X, E-ISSN 1536-7312, Vol. 35, no 3, 179-188 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Objectives:

The study investigated the differences between high school boys and girls in: 1) use of pornography, 2) sexual experiences, 3) experience of sexual abuse, and 4) perceptions of sexuality and pornography. It also examined possible predictors of experiencing sexual activities, such as: sex, sociodemographic factors (high school program, household, and ethnic background), pornography consumption, experience of sexual abuse, perception of sexuality, and perception of pornography.

Method:

A population-based classroom survey of 16-year-old boys (n = 477) and girls (n = 400) from 53 randomly selected high school classes in two towns in mid-Sweden.

Results:

Almost all boys (96%, n = 453) and 54% of the girls (n = 213) had watched pornography. Regardless of sex, pornography consumers had a positive perception of pornography. There were no differences between pornography-consuming boys and girls regarding fantasies and attempted sexual acts inspired by pornography. A higher proportion of girls (15%) than boys (6%) had experienced sexual abuse. Predictors for being sexually experienced (oral sex, intercourse, and anal sex) included: being a girl, attending a vocational high school program, living with separated parents, having experience of sexual abuse, stating that boys and girls are equally interested in sex, and having a positive perception of pornography (Adj R2 = 0.145).

Conclusion:

Boys had more experience of and a more positive perception of pornography but there were only a few differences between boys and girls in the pornography-consumer group. Girls were more sexually experienced than boys. A positive perception of pornography predicted being sexually experienced.

Keyword
Adolescents, Pornography, Sexuality, Sexual experiences
National Category
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-217338 (URN)10.1097/DBP.0000000000000034 (DOI)000336849100003 ()
Available from: 2014-02-10 Created: 2014-02-03 Last updated: 2017-12-06Bibliographically approved
4. Pornography consumption, psychosomatic health and depressive symptoms among Swedish adolescents
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Pornography consumption, psychosomatic health and depressive symptoms among Swedish adolescents
Show others...
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Objective: The aims of the study were to investigate predictors for frequent use of pornography and to investigate such use in relation to psychosomatic and depressive symptoms among Swedish adolescents.

Methods: Data collection was performed longitudinally in 13 randomly selected senior high schools in 53 classes in 2011 with a follow up in 2013. Two hundred twenty-four boys (47%) and 238 girls (60%) participated.

Results: Using a multivariate general linear model (GLM) we found that being a boy born outside Sweden, living in a parent-owned dwelling, attending a vocational high school program and being a frequent user of pornography at baseline had major effects in relation to the frequent use of pornography at follow-up (adjusted R2 0.689). In a second GLM we found that being a girl, living with separated parents, attending a vocational high school program, and being a frequent user of pornography at baseline had major effects on psychosomatic symptoms at follow-up (adjusted R20.254).

Conclusions: Being male, attending a vocational high school program and being a frequent user of pornography at baseline predicted frequent use of pornography at follow-up. Frequent use of pornography at baseline predicted psychosomatic symptoms at follow-up to a higher extent compared to depressive symptoms.

Keyword
adolescents, pornography, longitudinal, psychological health, psychosomatic health
National Category
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-217341 (URN)
Available from: 2014-02-10 Created: 2014-02-03 Last updated: 2014-04-29

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