Adolescents Who Viewed X-Rated Films by Family Structure and Religious Practice
Family Structure: Based on the 1972-2006 General Social Survey, 21 percent of adults who lived in an intact family as adolescents had viewed an X-rated movie in the last year, compared to 29 percent of those who lived in a non-intact family.
Religious Practice: According to the General Social Survey 21.9 percent of adults who attended religious services at least monthly as adolescents had viewed an X-rated movie in the last year, compared to 26.6 percent of adults who attended worship less than monthly as adolescents.
Family Structure and Religious Practice Combined: About 21 percent of adults who attended religious services at least monthly and lived in an intact family as adolescents had viewed an X-rated film in the last year, compared to 34 percent of adults who attended religious services less than monthly and lived in a non-intact family as adolescents. In between were those who lived in an intact family but attended religious services less than monthly (25 percent) and those who had attended religious services at least monthly but lived in a non-intact family (28 percent).
Related Insights from Other Studies: Several other studies corroborate the direction of these findings. Gina Wingood of the Rollins School of Public Health and colleagues found that, among black female adolescents, “[e]xposure to X-rated movies was associated with residing in a single-parent family and being monitored by someone other than one’s mother.”
Jay Grosfeld of the Indiana University School of Medicine also found that children living in “single parent and broken homes” were more likely to be exposed to pornography.
Elissa Benedek of the University of Michigan and Catherine Brown, executive editor of Psychiatric News, reported that children from single-parent homes are most at risk from exposure to televised pornography.
In terms of religion, Stephen Tibbetts and Michael Blankenship of East Tennessee State University found that those with no religious affiliation were more tolerant of X-rated video stores, even more so when these stores were present in their own neighborhood.
In an examination of Australian adolescents, Joan Abbott-Chapman and Carey Denholm of the University of Tasmania also reported a correlation between high levels of religiosity and avoidance of X-rated films. They found that religious beliefs, in and of themselves, are only weakly associated with avoiding X-rated films. “The positive, normative reinforcement of belonging to a church, school and/or community group of shared values is also needed.”
As the data indicate, growing up in an intact family that worships frequently proves to be an effective protector against X-rated movie viewing in adolescence and in adulthood.
 Gina M. Wingood, et al., “Exposure to X-rated Movies and Adolescents’ Sexual and Contraceptive-Related Attitudes and Behaviors,” Pediatrics, vol. 107 (2001): 1116-1119.
 Jay Grosfeld, “The Plight of Children,” Annals of Surgery, vol. 246 (2007): 343-350.
 Elissa P. Benedek and Catherine F. Brown, “No Excuses: Televised Pornography Harms Children,” Harvard Review of Psychiatry, vol. 7 (1999): 236-240.
 Stephen G. Tibbetts and Michael B. Blankenship, “Explaining Citizens’ Attitudes Toward Pornography: Differential Effects of Predictors Across Levels of Geographic Proximity to Other Sources,” Justice Quarterly, vol. 16 (1999): 735-763.
 Joan Abbott-Chapman and Carey Denholm, “Adolescents’ Risk Activities, Risk Hierarchies and the Influence of Religiosity,” Journal of Youth Studies, vol. 4 (2001): 279-297.