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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

BU Finds Link between Pornography Use and Dating Abuse among Urban Teens

Black and Hispanic teenagers from an urban area who were victims of dating abuse reported viewing pornography twice as often as non-victimized peers, suggesting a possible link between dating abuse and pornography exposure, according to a new study led by Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) researcher Dr. Emily Rothman.

The study in the journal Behavioral Sciences gauged pornography use and adolescent dating abuse in a sample of 72 youths, ages 16 and 17, most of whom were Black or Hispanic and economically disadvantaged. The study found that more than half of all participants (51 percent) had been asked to watch pornography together by a dating or sexual partner. Overall, 44 percent of the youths reported that they had been asked to do something sexual that a partner saw in pornography, with a higher likelihood of that occurring among dating abuse victims. Fifty-eight percent of those who were asked to participate in a sexual act that their partner saw in pornography reported that they were not happy to have been asked.

Dr. Rothman, associate professor of community health sciences at BUSPH, said the relationship between adolescent dating abuse and pornography exposure warrants further study, given the wide availability of pornographic material on the Internet.

“It’s possible that dating abuse victims are coerced or forced to watch more pornography or perform pornography-inspired acts, but it’s also possible that their pornography exposure predisposes them to victimization,” or that some other unmeasured factor is driving the association, she said.

To read more about the study, go to: