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.