This chart is taken from a study conducted by Visiting Fellow Althea Nagai, Ph.D. for Family Research Council.
Adults who frequently attended religious services as adolescents are less likely to have viewed an X-rated movie in the last year.
According to the General Social Survey (GSS), 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.
Several other studies corroborate the direction of these findings. 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.”
Frequent religious attendance during adolescence, and the reinforcement of strong positive moral values that comes with it, decreases the likelihood of X-rated movie viewing in adulthood.
Patrick F. Fagan, Ph.D. & Althea Nagai, Ph.D.
Dr. Fagan is senior fellow and director of the Center for Family and Religion at Family Research Council. Dr. Nagai is a visiting fellow at Family Research Council. This chart draws on data collected by the General Social Survey, 1972-2006. From 1972 to 1993, the sample size averaged 1,500 each year. No GSS was conducted in 1979, 1981, or 1992. Since 1994, the GSS has been conducted only in even-numbered years and uses two samples per GSS that total approximately 3,000. In 2006, a third sample was added for a total sample size of 4,510.  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.