Monday, March 12, 2012

Porn Actresses and Mental Health

In a study published last June, researchers in California examined the mental health of women in the porn industry and compared them to measures taken of women in a statewide survey. In short, the researchers recruited women who had been in at least one porn film in the previous six months. They contacted the women by e-mail after their information had been gleaned from the adult film database website. Also, they invited women on an adult film jobs website to participate in the study. The women were given a $50 gift card as incentive and a modified version of the statewide survey was given to these women online.
There were some rather interesting findings. They are:

  • Women in the adult film industry reported a higher number of poor mental health days in the previous month when compared to controls.
  • Approximately 33% of the adult film women met the criteria for depression when compared to 13% of the control group.
  • Female adult film performers were more likely to have been victims of forced sex, lived in poverty, and placed in foster care as children.
  • Nearly half of the performers reported living in poverty as adults.
  • Over a third had experienced domestic violence - five times the rate of that in the control group.
  • There was a rate of 27% who had experienced forced sex when compared to 9% of the control group.

The conclusions of the researchers are pretty straightforward. Being a woman in the porn industry is correlated with having a significantly worse mental health status and much higher rates of depression when compared to women across the state. Whether it is the chicken or the egg, this is the reality. So the next time anyone tells you that being a woman in the porn industry is glamorous or that these are women who grew up like everyone else, just direct them to the study and you might find that they may change their tune. If they still don't get it, my guess is that they just don't want to.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Update: Research on women in the Adult Film Industry and other stuff

It has been far too long since I have sent off a blog post, and I'm excited to send this one out because there are couple of very interesting projects and happenings as we are moving into the month of March.

First off, there has been an increase in interest on the psychological impact of being involved in the sex industry. There are two studies which of come out recently that I will be reviewing which examine how involvement in pornography and prostitution are more than just matters of morality or law, but they are also matters of mental health. Next week I will be reviewing the first of these entitled, Comparison of the mental health of female adult film performers and other young women in California.

On the research side, as of last week, our research lab has launched a study which will be looking at the reasons and circumstances around why women go into the adult film industry. Because of a generous donation from a local organization we will be offering a financial incentive for their participation and are planning to use this information to better advocate and care for women in the pornography industry. Be on the look-out for more information as well as preliminary findings in the next couple of months.

On other fronts, here are couple of things that are on the horizon:

1. I have been invited to speak at a conference for youth workers in the United Kingdom. This May I will be speaking at the Youthwork Summit in one of my favorite cities on the planet, London. This is a TEDS-style event for youth workers in the church who are grappling with issues that young people face today. In true British form, I've got a few curve balls and a bit of cheekiness to share with our brothers and sisters across the pond.
2. In the following month of June, I will be traveling to Thailand to work with a ministry directed at women who are in the sex industry in Bangkok. Servantworks sponsors The Well, a ministry that provides counseling, training and job development services to bar girls and sex workers and their families.
3. In July I will be flying to New York to take part in the filming of a documentary on pornography addiction by an Australian documentary crew, Jaypaq Productions. A link to the promo for it can be found here (the password is: guiltypromo).
4. After I get back from filming, it's off to Honey Rock Camp where I will be working with wilderness counselors who will be guiding and caring for campers and young adults. Specifically I will be involved in training them to deal with issues related to sexual brokenness. It should be an enriching time, and I'm looking forward to being with those who are dedicated to caring for the next generation.

Well, that does it for now. I'll be back soon with a review of that article.

-Dr. S