A Qualitative Exploration of Self-Perceived Problematic Pornography Use Amongst Young People

Prof Doc Thesis

Richards, L. M. 2023. A Qualitative Exploration of Self-Perceived Problematic Pornography Use Amongst Young People. Prof Doc Thesis University of East London School of Psychology https://doi.org/10.15123/uel.8x11x
AuthorsRichards, L. M.
TypeProf Doc Thesis

Pornography use is prevalent amongst young people, with technology developments meaning that it is now available like it has never been available before. Research to date has indicated that for a minority of users that this may be problematic for them. However, there had been no research interviewing those who experience this difficulty. This thesis explores the experience of young people with self-perceived problematic pornography use.

Semi-structured interviews were conducted with nine 16–24-year-olds with self-perceived problematic pornography use. The data was analysed from a social constructionist paradigm following Braun and Clarke (2022) reflexive thematic analysis. There were seven themes constructed which are: 1. What is problematic use? Too much or too extreme?, 2. Using porn as a coping strategy, 3. The shame/guilt associated with pornography use, 4. The negative effect of problematic pornography use on relationships, 5. Things can get better, 6. People minimising the problem, and 7. A lacking in education.

The experience of self-perceived problematic pornography use is not a stand-alone issue. It is important when working with people who present with this experience that counselling psychologists hold this in mind, understanding this is not just an individual problem but also a relational one, and that understanding what the client exactly means about the problem is key to supporting them.

This thesis has a very broad scope, and the participants were not a homogenous group aside from age and self-perceived problematic pornography use and the research questions were very open. It could be useful for future research to either look into particular identity groups, or to broaden the research more to people of all ages. It could also be interesting to do quantitative research to investigate whether there is a relationship between pornography use and beliefs about sexual education.

Keywordsproblematic pornography use; young people; pornography; pornography addiction
PublisherUniversity of East London
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.15123/uel.8x11x
File Access Level
Publication dates
Online10 Jan 2024
Publication process dates
Completed03 Oct 2023
Deposited10 Jan 2024
Copyright holder© 2023, The Author
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