Married People Who Start To Watch Porn Are More Likely To Get Divorced, Study Says

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Starting to watch pornography can substantially increase the risk of divorce, according to new U.S. research.

The study, which will be presented at the 111th annual meeting of the American Sociological Association (ASA), analyzed nationally representative data collected from thousands of American adults.

Data was collected from participants on their pornography use and marital status in three waves between 2006-2010, 2008-2012, or 2010-2014.

Participants were interviewed three times every two years in each wave. Surveys from a total of 6067 individuals were captured in the first wave, with 4668 of these participants re-interviewed in the second wave, and 3875 interviewed again in the third wave.

Around 44 per cent of participants were men and around 56 per cent were women.

porn and divorce risk

Those who did not report viewing pornography in the past year in the first interview, but did so in the second, were defined as having begun pornography use.

The results showed that starting to watch pornography after one interview increased the risk of being divorced by the next interview from six per cent to 11 per cent. For women this risk nearly tripled, rising from six to 16 per cent.

The team also found that the risk of divorce was greater in younger adults: the younger the participant was when he or she began watching pornography, the higher his or her probability of getting divorced by the next wave of interviews.

The risk was also higher for those who were less religious.

In addition, those who reported that they were "very happy" with their marriage in the first survey wave were also more likely to get divorced by the time of the next wave, if they began watching pornography.

porn divorce

However, perhaps surprisingly, pornography use didn't have the same effect on those who reported a lower level of marital happiness, with Samuel Perry, lead author of the study, commenting that pornography use "doesn't seem to make an unhappy marriage any worse than it already is."

The team also found that stopping pornography use lowered the risk of divorce, at least for women. The same association was not found for men, with the researchers explaining that as men are often more consistent in their pornography use, the smaller sample size of those who had begun to use pornography may have been too small to observe a possible connection.

In conclusion the team believe that their findings could provide couples with information on the factors that can affect marriage stability, commenting that, "Americans should be aware of the potential consequences of pornography under certain circumstances."

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