Published: Feb. 11, 2015

'Fifty Shades' research hits big in 2014

Contact(s): Amy Bonomi Human Development and Family Studies office: 517-355-0230, Andy Henion Media Communications office: (517) 355-3294 cell: (517) 281-6949

Much like the controversial book it explores, an MSU scholar’s investigation into the potential harmful effects of “Fifty Shades of Grey” is a huge hit.

Amy Bonomi’s two studies, which appeared in the Journal of Women’s Health, were both among the 100 most-read articles of 2014 in the extensive academic library of Mary Ann Liebert Inc., publishers.

The company published 85 journals with a total of 9,067 articles last year. That means Bonomi’s two papers were in the top 11 percent of the most-read articles.

In one study, Bonomi found that young women who read “Fifty Shades” are more likely than nonreaders to exhibit signs of eating disorders, have a verbally abusive partner, engage in binge drinking and have multiple sex partners. That paper, titled “Fiction or Not? Fifty Shades is Associated with Health Risks in Adolescent and Young Adult Females,” had 12,882 downloads in 2014 and was the most-read paper in the Journal of Women’s Health.

The other study, which found that emotional and sexual abuse is pervasive in “Fifty Shades,” was downloaded 5,202 times, according to the publishing company. That study is titled “'Double Crap!' Abuse and Harmed Identity in Fifty Shades of Grey”

A movie based on the book opens Feb. 13.

Bonomi, chairperson and professor of Michigan State University’s Department of Human Development and Family Studies, is available to discuss her research and the issues raised by the books and movie at (517) 355-0230 and For more information about Bonomi, see her expert page.

Amy Bonomi, chairperson and professor in Michigan State University's Department of Human Development and Family Studies. Photo by G.L. Kohuth

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