Date of Award:

5-2013

Document Type:

Dissertation

Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department:

Psychology

Advisor/Chair:

Renee V. Galliher

Abstract

The present study examined the state of healthy sexuality among college students and the influence of a psychoeducational group on related constructs. Healthy sexuality is comprised of multiple constructs, including accurate knowledge, positive attitudes, risk reducing behaviors, open communication among partners, and self-efficacy for creating desired experiences and preventing unwanted experiences. Sexuality-related knowledge, attitudes and values, and behaviors were measured prior to and following the four-session intervention. Additionally, prior sexuality education at the familial and school-based levels was assessed and compared to the designed intervention. Fifty-six young adults participated in the groups, with topics covering sexual anatomy and response, communication, safer sex practices, and preventing unwanted experiences. Assessment prior to the designed intervention exemplified the wide variety of educational experiences and sources that young adults have, contributing to great variation in sexual knowledge, attitudes, behaviors, and self-efficacy. Participants reported varying levels of satisfaction with their sexuality education prior to the intervention, but satisfaction was unrelated to knowledge accuracy. Attitudes, values, and behaviors were similar to national samples. Assessment following the intervention demonstrated significant improvement in many of these areas, indicating that college students are likely to benefit from continued sexuality education. The level of interest for participation in the study indicates young people's interest in increasing healthy sexuality in their lives. It is hoped that the designed intervention may continue to be made available to young adults and tailored to meet their needs and desires as appropriate.

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