Background and aims: The past-year prevalence of problematic pornography use (PPU) was 1-6% in adult populations. As a result of treatment obstacles and barriers, such as unaffordable treatments, only a minority of problematic pornography users may seek treatment. Having a free, online, self-help program may overcome treatment barriers and may help those individuals who cannot receive traditional or offline treatment for PPU. Although the effectiveness of such online programs reducing substance use and problematic gambling have been reported, no prior study has examined the efficacy of an online self-help intervention aiming to reduce PPU.
Methods: This two-armed randomized controlled trial (RCT) will examine the effectiveness of an online self-help program (Hands-off) to reduce PPU, while also considering psychopathological comorbidities. The six-week intervention condition includes six core modules developed to reduce PPU based on motivational interviewing, cognitive behavioral therapy, mindfulness, and wise social-psychological intervention techniques. The target sample size is 242 participants. Self-report questionnaires will be administered at baseline, right after the end of the intervention, at one-month, and three-month follow-ups after the end of the intervention. The primary outcome will be the level of PPU. Secondary outcomes will include pornography use frequency, pornography craving, pornography use-avoidance self-efficacy, sex mindset, sexual satisfaction, negative and positive emotions, and life satisfaction. Data will be analyzed on an intention-to-treat basis using linear mixed models.
Results: Results will be reported at conferences and published in a scientific peer-reviewed journal. The participants will be sent a lay-person-friendly summary of the results via e-mail.
Keywords: cognitive-behavioral therapy; motivational interview; online intervention; problematic pornography use; wise social-psychological intervention