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Through a different lens: Adolescent sexual health in the context of gender, the body, close relationships and well-being

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Through a different lens: Adolescent sexual health in the context of gender, the body, close relationships and well-being

Drury, Kate-Mills (2015) Through a different lens: Adolescent sexual health in the context of gender, the body, close relationships and well-being. PhD thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

Psychological research on adolescent sexuality has been typified by a focus on risk, biology and female experience. The overarching objective of the current two-part study was to incorporate an analysis of gender and embodiment into our knowledge of adolescent sexuality. This goal was achieved by collecting both quantitative and qualitative data from a sample of 170 Canadian adolescents (81 boys, 89 girls; Mean age= 15.82 years). Participants completed computerized questionnaires assessing self-reported gender role expectations, sexual attitudes, body-esteem, sexual subjectivity, well-being and experiences in close relationships. A subset of the sample (n = 40; 20 girls and 20 boys) was randomly chosen for participation in semi-structured interviews about sexuality, sexual relationships and sexual norms within the school culture. The quantitative data were analyzed using structural equation modeling in MPlus; the interview data were analyzed using thematic analysis. In the first study, we examined how the interplay of heterosexuality and gender produces differences in socially constructed experiences of sexuality. In particular, we examined associations between gender role expectations, sexual attitudes, sexual subjectivity and emotional/social well-being. We also analyzed adolescents’ descriptions of gendered norms for sexual behaviour in their school. Overall, results provided support for the gender similarities hypothesis (Hyde, 2005), however, gender differences in attitudes toward sexual permissiveness impacted many aspects of adolescent personal and interpersonal well-being. In Study 2 explored how sexuality becomes woven into personal and interpersonal experiences of embodiment; specifically, we examined associations between sexual attitudes, body esteem, sexual subjectivity and close relationships. We also analyzed adolescents’ narratives about sexual attraction, desire and pleasure. Results revealed gendered processes of sexual embodiment, namely sexual objectification and subjectification and gender differences in the relationships between sexual permissiveness and body esteem. Taken as a whole, findings provide important new knowledge toward the development of holistic sexuality development programs.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Psychology
Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Authors:Drury, Kate-Mills
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Ph. D.
Program:Psychology
Date:7 July 2015
Thesis Supervisor(s):Bukowski, William M.
ID Code:980545
Deposited By: KATE-MILLS DRURY
Deposited On:28 Oct 2015 12:49
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:51
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