Moral Incongruence and Compulsive Sexual Behavior: Results from Cross-Sectional Interactions and Parallel Growth Curve Analyses

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Journal of Abnormal Psychology


Despite controversies about the diagnosis, the World Health Organization recently elected to include compulsive sexual behavior disorder in the 11th edition of the International Classification of Diseases. Both recent and remote works have suggested that various cultural factors such as personal religiousness and morality can influence both the experience and expression of compulsive sexual behaviors. Because prior works have indicated that pornography use is likely to be the most common expression of compulsive sexual behavior, the present work sought to examine whether moral incongruence about pornography use may account for a substantive part of self-reports of compulsive sexual behavior. In 2 studies involving 4 samples, the present work tested the hypothesis that moral incongruence would positively predict self-reported compulsivity in pornography use. In Study 1, across 3 samples (Sample 1, N = 467; Sample 2, N = 739; Sample 3, N = 1,461), including 2 matched to U.S. nationally representative norms (Samples 2 and 3), results indicated that moral incongruence was a substantive and robust predictor of self-reported compulsivity. In Study 2 (baseline N = 850), parallel process latent growth curve analyses over the course of 1 year revealed that the trajectories of pornography use, self-reported compulsivity, and moral disapproval of such use covaried together over time. Collectively, these results underscore the contention that personal morality may influence individuals' self-perceptions of their sexual behaviors, which, in turn, may complicate efforts to accurately diagnose compulsive sexual behavior disorder.


Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences



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