American Sociological Association

Do People in Conservative States Really Watch More Porn? A Hierarchical Analysis

Recent studies have found that state-level religious and political conservatism is positively associated with various aggregate indicators of interest in pornography. Such studies have been limited, however, in that they either did not include data measuring actual consumption patterns and/or did not include data on individuals (risking the ecological fallacy). This study overcomes both limitations by incorporating state-level data with individual-level data and a measure of pornography consumption from a large nationally representative survey. Hierarchical linear regression analyses show that, in the main, state-level religious and political characteristics do not predict individual-level pornography consumption, and individual-level religiosity and political conservatism predict less recent pornography consumption. However, interactions between individual-level evangelical identity and state-level political conservatism indicate that evangelicals who live in more politically conservative states report the highest rates of pornography consumption. These findings thus provide more nuanced support for previous research linking religious and political conservatism with greater pornography consumption.

Authors

Samuel L. Perry and Andrew L. Whitehead

Volume

6