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Hands-off: Feasibility and preliminary results of a two-armed randomized controlled trial of a web-based self-help tool to reduce problematic pornography use


Bőthe, Beáta; Baumgartner, Christian; Schaub, Michael P; Demetrovics, Zsolt; Orosz, Gábor (2021). Hands-off: Feasibility and preliminary results of a two-armed randomized controlled trial of a web-based self-help tool to reduce problematic pornography use. Journal of Behavioral Addictions, 10(4):1015-1035.

Abstract

ackground and aims: Despite problematic pornography use (PPU) being prevalent, no previous study has examined the effectiveness of evidence-based interventions for PPU, using rigorous methods. Using a two-armed randomized controlled trial study design, we examined the feasibility and initial effectiveness of a six-week online PPU intervention.

Methods: We recruited 264 participants (3.8% women, M age = 33.2, SD = 10.6) who were randomized and assigned to either the self-help intervention (n = 123) or waitlist control condition (n = 141), and completed self-report questionnaires at baseline and after the end of the intervention (six-week follow-up). Multivariable linear regression models were generated and tested on a complete case basis to investigate possible treatment effects. Participants provided quantitative and qualitative feedback regarding the intervention's content and appearance.

Results: Participants evaluated all modules positively in the intervention in general. There were differential dropout rates (89.4% in intervention vs. 44.7% in control group) with an overall follow-up rate of 34.5%. The intervention group reported significantly lower levels of PPU (P < 0.001, d = 1.32) at the six-week follow-up. Moreover, they reported lower pornography use frequency (P < 0.001, d = 1.65), self-perceived pornography addiction (P = 0.01, d = 0.85), pornography craving (P = 0.02, d = 0.40), and higher pornography avoidance self-efficacy (P = 0.001, d = 0.87) at the six-week follow-up.

Discussion and conclusions: The present study was only a first step in rigorous treatment studies for PPU, but the findings are promising and suggest that online interventions for PPU might help reduce PPU in some cases, even without the guidance of therapists, by reducing treatment barriers.

Keywords: cognitive-behavioral therapy; compulsive sexual behavior; feasibility; online intervention; problematic pornography use.

Abstract

ackground and aims: Despite problematic pornography use (PPU) being prevalent, no previous study has examined the effectiveness of evidence-based interventions for PPU, using rigorous methods. Using a two-armed randomized controlled trial study design, we examined the feasibility and initial effectiveness of a six-week online PPU intervention.

Methods: We recruited 264 participants (3.8% women, M age = 33.2, SD = 10.6) who were randomized and assigned to either the self-help intervention (n = 123) or waitlist control condition (n = 141), and completed self-report questionnaires at baseline and after the end of the intervention (six-week follow-up). Multivariable linear regression models were generated and tested on a complete case basis to investigate possible treatment effects. Participants provided quantitative and qualitative feedback regarding the intervention's content and appearance.

Results: Participants evaluated all modules positively in the intervention in general. There were differential dropout rates (89.4% in intervention vs. 44.7% in control group) with an overall follow-up rate of 34.5%. The intervention group reported significantly lower levels of PPU (P < 0.001, d = 1.32) at the six-week follow-up. Moreover, they reported lower pornography use frequency (P < 0.001, d = 1.65), self-perceived pornography addiction (P = 0.01, d = 0.85), pornography craving (P = 0.02, d = 0.40), and higher pornography avoidance self-efficacy (P = 0.001, d = 0.87) at the six-week follow-up.

Discussion and conclusions: The present study was only a first step in rigorous treatment studies for PPU, but the findings are promising and suggest that online interventions for PPU might help reduce PPU in some cases, even without the guidance of therapists, by reducing treatment barriers.

Keywords: cognitive-behavioral therapy; compulsive sexual behavior; feasibility; online intervention; problematic pornography use.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Swiss Research Institute for Public Health and Addiction
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Uncontrolled Keywords:Psychiatry and Mental health, Clinical Psychology, General Medicine, Medicine (miscellaneous)
Language:English
Date:31 December 2021
Deposited On:01 Feb 2022 07:18
Last Modified:26 Feb 2024 02:45
Publisher:Akadémiai Kiadó
ISSN:2062-5871
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1556/2006.2021.00070
PubMed ID:34727088
Project Information:
  • : FunderMerit Scholarship Program for Foreign Students
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  • : Project Title
  • : FunderMinistère de l’Éducation et de l’Enseignement Supérieur
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  • Content: Published Version
  • Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)