Psychopathology among adult survivors of child pornography

Ateret Gewirtz-Meydan, Yael Lahav, Wendy Walsh, David Finkelhor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The majority of studies investigating child pornography have focused on conceptualizing the problem and the harm of the crime, evaluating the risk for child pornography offending, or discuss preventive measures. Little is known about survivors of this type of crime. Objective: This research explores the relationship between child pornography victimization and psychopathology in adulthood. Specifically, we examined the contribution of emotional reactions at the time of the crime and shortly after (guilt, embarrassment and avoidance) on psychopathology among adult survivors of child pornography. Participants and setting: The study was conducted among 107 child pornography adult survivors, aged 18–63 (M = 39.48, SD = 12.31). All participants were sexually molested during the crime. Methods: An online survey was completed by a convenience sample of adult survivors of child pornography. Results: Findings indicate survivor's current age predicted current psychopathology symptoms. Survivor's emotional reactions of guilt and embarrassment at the time of the crime and shortly after were significantly associated with elevated psychopathology, above and beyond demographic characteristics and features of the crime. Conclusions: The present results suggest the way survivors of child pornography react to the crime might shape their mental health in the long term.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104189
JournalChild Abuse and Neglect
StatePublished - Dec 2019
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019


  • Avoidance
  • Child pornography
  • Embarrassment
  • Guilt
  • Psychopathology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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