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Sunday, April 16, 2023

The Relationship between Compulsive Sexual Behavior, Religiosity, and Moral Disapproval

Jennings, T., Lyng, T., et al. (2021).
Journal of Behavioral Addictions 10(4):854-878


Compulsive sexual behavior (CSB) is associated with religiosity and moral disapproval for sexual behaviors, and religiosity and moral disapproval are often used interchangeably in understanding moral incongruence. The present study expands prior research by examining relationships between several religious orientations and CSB and testing how moral disapproval contributes to these relationships via mediation analysis. Results indicated that religious orientations reflecting commitment to beliefs and rigidity in adhering to beliefs predicted greater CSB. Additionally, moral disapproval mediated relationships between several religiosity orientations and CSB. Overall, findings suggest that religiosity and moral disapproval are related constructs that aid in understanding CSB presentations.

From the Discussion Section

The relationship between CSB, religiosity, and spirituality

In general, the present review found that most studies reported a small to moderate positive relationship between CSB and religiosity. However, there were also many non-significant relationships reported (Kohut & Stulhofer, 2018; Reid et al., 2016; Skegg et al., 2010), as well as many associations that were very weak (Grubbs, Grant, et al., 2018;Grubbs, Kraus, et al., 2020; Lewczuk et al., 2020). The variety of measurement tools used, and constructs assessed across the literature, makes it difficult to draw more specific conclusions about the relationships between CSB and religiosity or spirituality. Divergent findings in the literature may be explained, in part, by the diverse measurement choices of researchers, as different aspects of CSB, religiosity, and spirituality are bound to have unique relationships with each other.

There are several notable considerations that may contribute to more consistent identification of a relationship between CSB and religiosity or spirituality. One of the most well-studied relationships in the literate is the association between PPU (Problematic Pornographic Use) and an aggregate measure of belief salience and religious participation, which, as noted in the meta-analysis by Grubbs, Perry, et al. (2019), have consistently been positively associated. This relationship is strongly mediated by moral incongruence, with this path accounting for a large portion of the variance. Notably, recent research indicates that MI is better conceptualized as an interactive effect of pornography use and moral disapproval of pornography (Grubbs, Kraus, et al., 2020;Grubbs, Lee, et al.,2020). These studies report that moral disapproval moderates the relationship between pornography use and PPU such that pornography use is more strongly related to PPU at higher levels of moral disapproval.

These considerations are especially important in evaluation of the literature because many studies identified in the present review did not consider the possible mediating or moderating role of moral incongruence. Therefore, it stands to reason, that many of the small to moderate associations identified in the present review are due to the absence of these variables.