Type of Document Dissertation Author Byno, Lucille Huffard URN etd-03212006-161342 Title Sexual Behavior, Sexual Knowledge, Self-Esteem, and Sexual Attitudes Among Emerging Adult Females Degree Doctor of Philosophy Department Family and Child Sciences, Department of Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title Ronald L Mullis Committee Chair Ann Mullis Committee Member Gary Peterson Committee Member Mary Hicks Committee Member Nicholas Mazza Committee Member Keywords
- sexual knowledge
- sexual attitudes
- sexual behavior
- emerging adults
Date of Defense 2005-11-04 Availability unrestricted AbstractABSTRACT
Emerging adults, between ages 18 and 25, experience changes in interpersonal relationships, sexuality, world view, and for some, changes in living arrangements that include college (Arnett, 2001; Lefkowitz, 2005). For many college students, this period of intense exploration and change may include increased susceptibility to engage in high-risk behaviors, including sexual behaviors. (Arnett, 1992; Bradley & Wildman, 2002).
Social cognitive theory was used in this study to examine relationships among personal aspects of female emerging adults and their sexual behavior such as sexual attitudes, self-esteem, race, age, and high-risk behaviors in addition to environmental influences such as perceived parental sexual attitudes. Social cognitive theory was a useful framework because it not only considers internal factors involved in individual decision making; it also considers interactions between an individual and their environment.
The most prominent predictor of female college students engaging in sexual behavior was engaging in other high-risk behaviors. Risk behaviors also related to sexually permissive attitudes and attitudes relating to safe sexual practice. The sexual knowledge among emerging adult females was not a good predictor of their sexual behavior, nor was self-esteem. Parental attitude related to sexual behavior for sexual permissiveness and sexual practice.
Therapists and educators would benefit from a depth of understanding the interpersonal reasoning for sexual decision making. Better assessment tools could be developed, specific treatments could be employed, and educational materials modeled on a more clear understanding of what works and what does not work in understanding sexuality related issues.
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