Biopsychosocial Determinants of Problematic Pornography Use: A Systematic Review

Document Type : Review Article(s)


1 Faculty of Educational Sciences and Psychology, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Mashhad, Iran

2 Department of Psychology, Faculty of Educational Sciences and Psychology, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Mashhad, Iran



Background: Although some studies have examined the determinants of problematic pornography use (PPU), few systematic 
comparisons of risk profiles have been conducted so far. Research on risk profiles can shed a bright light on our knowledge 
of both the early diagnosis and etiology of such highly prevalent disorders. Accordingly, the present study aimed to provide a 
comprehensive overview of the determinants of PPU.
Methods: Scopus, Web of Science, PubMed, and PsycINFO databases were systematically searched, and relevant English articles, 
including longitudinal and cross-sectional studies on risk factors published from January 2000 to February 2022 were reviewed.
Findings: The determinants of PPU extracted from the investigated studies (n=66) were summarized and clustered into biological, 
psychological, and social categories. The findings indicated that ventral striatum activity is a consistent biological factor which 
plays a key role in the development of PPU, while there were other psychological factors influencing PPU as mentioned in several 
studies, including craving, low self-esteem, sexual arousal, coping styles, stress, frequent pornography watching, avoidance, 
negative beliefs, and emotional deficiency. In addition, the social factors affecting PPU have been reported to be male gender, age, 
religion, moral incompatibility, and loneliness. According to these results, the identified factors could be considered in preventive 
Conclusion: This systematic review provided a comprehensive overview of the biopsychosocial determinants of PPU by analyzing 
66 articles mostly from Europe and North America. Most studies showed that ventral striatum activity, craving, self-esteem, stress, 
frequent pornography watching, gender, age, and religion are related to PPU.


Seyed Iman Seyedzadeh Dalooyi: (Google Scholar) (PubMed)

Hamidreza Aghamohammadian Sharbaaf: (Google Scholar) (PubMed)

Mohammad Saeed Abdekhodaei: (Google Scholar) (PubMed)

Ali Ghanaei Chamanabad: (Google Scholar) (PubMed)

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