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Background and aims

This two-study research was designed to define and predict profiles of compulsive sexual behavior (CSB) among non-clinical population of adolescents, and aimed to fill gaps in the current research.

Methods

In Study 1 (N = 1,182), we examined the profiles of CSB among adolescents using latent profile analysis. Results revealed the following three clusters: abstainers, sexual fantasizers, and individuals with CSB. In Study 2 (N = 618), we replicated this classification and examined differences between the clusters in Big Five personality traits, locus of control, attachment orientations, loneliness, age, gender, socioeconomic status (SES), residence quality, use of pornography, and sex-related online activities.

Results

Adolescents classified into different clusters significantly differed in personality traits, loneliness, age, SES, use of pornography, and sex-related online activities. Specifically, individuals with CSB had external locus of control, anxious attachment, greater loneliness, higher frequency of pornography use, and more sex-related online activities than the other groups.

Discussion

The current research expands the knowledge about CSB by providing a more individualized approach to understanding CSB among adolescence.

Open access

Background and aims

Sexuality is natural to human life and inseparable from it, yet some individuals develop compulsive sexual behavior (CSB). Many individuals with CSB seek treatment in free self-support groups based on the twelve-step program. This program was extensively studied in substance abuse disorders (e.g., Alcoholics Anonymous), but little is known about its efficiency in CSB.

Methods

We “assesed” questionnaire data on sociodemographical-, psychological-, and recovery-related factors from 97 male participants of Sexaholics Anonymous (SA) programs in Israel.

Results

Our results indicated that advancement in the SA program, measured as a current step of the program, is significantly related to lower levels of sexual-related overall sense of helplessness, avoidant help-seeking, self-control, overall CSB, and sexual suppression. It is also related to the higher well-being.

Discussion

This is the first study to examine psychological factors of CSB recovery process in twelve-step groups, and future research is needed to replicate our results within a longitudinal study.

Open access

Background and aims

Compulsive sexual behavior (CSB) has implications for clinical and non-clinical adult populations. Disposition to CSB has been shown to influence adolescence sexual behaviors, but the development of adolescents’ disposition toward CSB has yet to be examined in the family context. In this study, we investigated whether parent–adolescent communication mediates the links between parental characteristics and adolescents’ CSB.

Methods

The sample included 275 Israeli families [triad of mothers (age = 34–63 years, M = 45.48, SD = 5.46), fathers (age = 36–83 years, M = 48.33, SD = 6.63), and one adolescent (48.2% boys, 51.1% girls; age = 14–18 years, M = 16.23, SD = 1.18)]. Parents completed measures of psychopathology, parental self-esteem, and parental self-efficacy, and adolescents completed measures of quality of sex-related communication and CSB.

Results

The results indicate that, for girls, higher maternal self-esteem and lower psychopathology were linked with better sex-related communication and so with lower CSB. For boys, only parental religiosity was linked with the quality of sex-related communication and CSB, with religious parents having better communication than secular ones.

Discussion

The findings provide an opportunity for researchers to gain a better insight into the dynamics of familial factors in the development of CSB among adolescents.

Open access

Promoting educational, classification, treatment, and policy initiatives

Commentary on: Compulsive sexual behaviour disorder in the ICD-11 (Kraus et al., 2018)

Authors: Mateusz Gola and Marc N. Potenza

The letter by Kraus et al. (2018) published recently in World Psychiatry presents diagnostic criteria for compulsive sexual behaviors (CSBs). Here, we discuss the potential impact of including CSB disorder in ICD-11 for four areas: educational efforts related to CSB (for both clinicians and patients), investigation of underlying mechanisms and subtypes, development of personalized treatment frameworks, and answering socially important questions and advancing important prevention efforts and effective policies. Each of these four areas has their own challenges that should be addressed, and we briefly describe and discuss them. We hope that this information will help continue a dialog and provide a framework for moving forward in this area.

Open access

Background

How best to conceptualize problematic pornography use (PPU) and intervene most effectively remain debated, with obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD) and addiction frameworks. We investigated the efficacy of the serotonin-reuptake inhibitor paroxetine in combination with cognitive-behavioral therapy in the treatment of problematic pornography use (PPU).

Case presentation

Three heterosexual males with PPU were treated with cognitive-behavioral therapy and paroxetine. Frequency of pornography use, other sexual behaviors, and anxiety were assessed during treatment.

Discussion

Paroxetine treatment, although seemingly initially effective in reducing pornography use and anxiety, appeared related to new compulsive sexual behaviors after 3 months.

Conclusions

Paroxetine may hold promise for short-term reduction of PPU and related anxiety, but new potentially distressing sexual behaviors may emerge. The cases suggest that PPU may arise from multiple domains. We propose an explanation of the effects based on recent neuroscientific research on sexual behaviors and alcohol use.

Open access
Authors: Karol Lewczuk, Joanna Szmyd, Maciej Skorko and Mateusz Gola

Background and aims

Previous studies examined psychological factors related to treatment seeking for problematic pornography use (PU) among males. In this study, we focused on females who seek treatment for problematic PU and compared them with non-problematic pornography users with regard to variables related to problematic PU. Second, we investigated the relationships between critical constructs related to problematic PU with the path analysis method, emphasizing the predictors for treatment seeking among women. We also compared our results with previous studies on males.

Methods

A survey study was conducted on 719 Polish-speaking Caucasian females, 14–63 years old, including 39 treatment seekers for problematic PU.

Results

The positive relationship between the mere amount of PU and treatment seeking loses its significance after introducing two other predictors of treatment-seeking: religiosity and negative symptoms associated with PU. This pattern is different from the results obtained in previous studies on males.

Discussion

Different from previous studies on male samples, our analysis showed that in the case of women, mere amount of PU may be related to treatment-seeking behavior even after accounting for negative symptoms associated with PU. Moreover, religiousness is a significant predictor of treatment seeking among women, which may indicate that in the case of women, treatment seeking for problematic PU is motivated not only by experienced negative symptoms of PU but also by personal beliefs about PU and social norms.

Conclusion

For females, negative symptoms associated with PU, the amount of PU and religiosity is associated with treatment seeking. Those factors should be considered in treatment.

Open access

Background and aims

Compulsive sexual behaviors (CSBs) are an important clinical and social issue. Despite the increasing number of studies, some of CSB’s aspects remain under-investigated. Here, we explore the nature of CSB, such as binge pornography use and masturbation (PuM), and verify the correspondence between self-perceived factors leading to such behavior with its measures obtained in a diary assessment.

Methods

Semi-structuralized interviews with nine treatment-seeking males aged 22–37 years (M = 31.7, SD = 4.85) were followed by a questionnaire and a 10-week-long diary assessment, allowing us to acquire real-life daily patterns of CSB.

Results

Six out of nine subjects experienced binge (multiple hours or times a day) PuM. All subjects presented a high level of anxiety and perceived PuM as a way to regulate mood and stress. Data collected in the diary assessment uncovered a high diversity in the patterns of sexual behaviors (such as frequency of regular and binge PuM) and its correlates. Binge PuM was related to decreased mood and/or increased stress or anxiety. The causal relation between these correlates remains undetermined.

Discussion and conclusions

Binge PuM seems to be one of the most characteristic behavior among males who are seeking treatment for CSB and is related to the feeling of losing control over one’s sexual activity. CSB individuals indicate a variety of binge triggers. Also, diary assessment data indicate that specific correlates of binge PuM (decreased mood, increased stress, and anxiety) differ between subjects. It suggests the existence of significant individual differences in binge PuM behaviors, and a need to study these differences, as it may help guide personalized treatment.

Open access
Authors: Skyler Sklenarik, Marc N. Potenza, Mateusz Gola, Ariel Kor, Shane W. Kraus and Robert S. Astur

Background and aims

Addicted individuals often demonstrate relatively automatic action tendencies in response to addiction-related stimuli, whereby they approach rather than avoid addictive stimuli. This study assessed whether an approach bias for erotic stimuli exists among heterosexual college-aged males who report using pornography.

Methods

We tested 72 male undergraduate students using an approach–avoidance task employing erotic stimuli, during which participants were instructed to push or pull a joystick in response to image orientation. To simulate approach and avoidance movements, pulling the joystick enlarged the image and pushing shrunk the image. Frequency and severity of pornography use was assessed using a Brief Pornography Screener and the Problematic Pornography Use Scale (PPUS).

Results

Participants demonstrated a significant approach bias for erotic stimuli as compared to neutral stimuli, and this approach bias significantly correlated with pornography-use measures. Moreover, individuals with problematic pornography use (as classified by the PPUS) showed more than double the approach bias than did non-problematic users.

Discussion and conclusion

The observation of cognitive biases for erotic stimuli in individuals with problematic pornography use indicate similarities between behavioral and substance addictions.

Open access
Authors: Shane W. Kraus, Mateusz Gola, Joshua B. Grubbs, Ewelina Kowalewska, Rani A. Hoff, Michał Lew-Starowicz, Steve Martino, Steven D. Shirk and Marc N. Potenza

Abstract

Background and Aims

To address current gaps around screening for problematic pornography use (PPU), we initially developed and tested a six-item Brief Pornography Screen (BPS) that asked about PPU in the past six months.

Methods and Participants

We recruited five independent samples from the U.S. and Poland to evaluate the psychometric properties of the BPS. In Study 1, we evaluated the factor structure, reliability, and elements of validity using a sample of 224 U.S. veterans. One item from the BPS was dropped in Study 1 due to low item endorsement. In Studies 2 and 3, we further investigated the five-item the factor structure of the BPS and evaluated its reliability and validity in two national U.S. representative samples (N = 1,466, N = 1,063, respectively). In Study 4, we confirmed the factor structure and evaluated its validity and reliability using a sample of 703 Polish adults. In Study 5, we calculated the suggested cut-off score for the screen using a sample of 105 male patients seeking treatment for compulsive sexual behavior disorder (CSBD).

Results

Findings from a principal components analysis and confirmatory factor analysis supported a one-factor solution which yielded high internal consistency (α = 0.89–0.90), and analyses further supported elements of construct, convergent, criterion, and discriminant validity of the newly developed screen. Results from a Receiver Operating Characteristic (ROC) curve suggested a cut-off score of four or higher for detecting possible PPU.

Conclusions

The BPS appears to be psychometrically sound, short, and easy to use in various settings with high potential for use in populations across international jurisdictions.

Open access