Award Date

8-2009

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology

Department

Psychology

First Committee Member

Marta Meana, Chair

Second Committee Member

Brad Donohue

Third Committee Member

Murray Millar

Graduate Faculty Representative

Kate Hausbeck

Number of Pages

176

Abstract

Baumeister's theory of female erotic plasticity is supported by a significant body of data suggesting that female sexuality is more malleable and more greatly influenced by cultural and contextual factors than male sexuality. Sex differences notwithstanding, it is reasonable to theorize that erotic plasticity might also vary across individuals. Based on a thematic/conceptual organization of relevant current literature, we explored erotic plasticity as optimally encompassed by six dimensions: (1) changes in sexual attitudes over time, (2) changes in sexual behaviors over time and across context, (3) fluidity of sexual behaviors along a same-sex/opposite-sex continuum (evidence of attraction and/or sexual involvement with both same-sex and opposite-sex partners), (4) susceptibility to sociocultural influences on sexuality, (5) attitude-behavior inconsistency, and (6) perception of choice in regard to one's sexual orientation, sexual identity and or sexual behavior. Early on, we realized that our items attempting to tap into changes in behavior over time (dimension #2) were either unreliable or actually reflective of rigidity more than plasticity so we dropped these items and this dimension from further analyses. Our attempt to construct this measure followed by an exploratory factor analysis yielded a 60-item, 5-subscale measure we titled the Erotic Plasticity Questionnaire. The subscales were titled: Fluidity (of behaviors on the same-sex/opposite-sex continuum), Attitude-Behavior Inconsistency, Changes in Attitudes (over time), Perception of Choice , and Sociocultural Influence . Results from a Confirmatory Factor Analysis with a second sample suggested that the factor solution identified using exploratory factor analysis provided an adequate fit and results from a third sample suggested excellent test-retest reliability for the Erotic Plasticity Questionnaire. The process of creating this questionnaire, determining the factor solution, and then examining the fit of the factor solution using confirmatory factor analysis raised a number of issues regarding the construct of plasticity itself and the extent to which we may (or may not) have captured plasticity as an individual difference variable.

Keywords

Attitude change; Attitude (Psychology)--Measurement; Psychometrics; Social influence; Women--Sexual behavior

Disciplines

Gender and Sexuality | Psychology | Quantitative Psychology | Social Psychology

Language

English

Comments

Signatures have been redacted for privacy and security measures.


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