Defense Date

2013

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Terri N. Sullivan

Abstract

Examined within this study were the relations between two processes within sexual identity development, sexual identity exploration and sexual identity commitment, and risky sexual behaviors. The moderating effects of sexual identity commitment, sexual self-efficacy, and positive condom use attitudes on relations between sexual identity exploration and risky sexual behaviors were also examined. Risky sexual behaviors included the frequency of substance prior to and barrier protection use during sex, multiple sex partners, and the initiation of sex prior to age sixteen. Study participants included 322 college students attending an urban university in the Southeastern United States. All were heterosexual and reported engaging in vaginal, anal or oral sex in the past 30 days. A high percentage of study participants reported at least one risky sexual behavior in the past 30 days, and most reported not using barrier protection during anal and oral sex. No direct effects were found between sexual identity exploration and any risky sexual behavior. Only one direct effect was found between higher levels of sexual identity commitment and lower frequencies of barrier protection use for oral sex. No moderating effects were found for sexual identity commitment, sexual self-efficacy, or positive condom use attitudes on relations between sexual identity exploration and any risky sexual behavior. The findings highlight the importance of examining how to get emerging adults to consistently use barrier protection during any type of sexual behavior. The results also underscore the complexity of sexual risk-taking during emerging adulthood, and the need for continued examination of the ways in which processes associated with sexual identity development may impact sexual risk-taking during emerging adulthood.

Rights

© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

May 2013

Included in

Psychology Commons

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