U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Impact of Pornography - A Decade of Literature

NCJ Number
H B McKay; D J Dolff
Date Published
361 pages
The sociological, criminal justice, and psychological literature was reviewed to examine the impact of pornography and prostitution on society.
Over 450 papers, published between 1975 and 1984, were reviewed with special attention to definitions, the climate of debate, pornography as a social issue, and the pornographic materials themselves. The literature is examined with respect to general assumptions about the impact of pornography, views supporting and against pornography, community standards, problems of control and enforcement, sex crimes, and adult and child participants and consumers. Overall, there is no consistent research evidence to suggest a relationship between pornography and the morality of Canadian society or a relationship between pornography and specific forms of deviant behavior as reflected in crime trend statistics. Further, there is no clear consensus on how the production, distribution, and marketing of pornography should be handled, and there is surprisingly little evidence for organized crime involvement. Evidence also is lacking that exposure to pornography causes harm to the average adult or results in harm to others or long-term changes in sexual patterns. While the involvement of children and adolescents as participants is well documented, literature rarely examines the effects of this involvement, and conclusions cannot be drawn about the effects of exposure to pornography on children and adolescents. Finally, little evidence exists to document a presumed increase in the availability of pornography, but evidence does show an increase in its violent content. 21 references, an approximately 440-item bibliography, and an annotated listing of resource materials used in the review.