Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology



First Advisor

Kathryn Quina


Thirty participants in a four-week Sexual Assertiveness training workshop series were compared to 30 participants in a placebo control condition for general assertiveness, and to 30 participants in a no-intervention control condition. All 90 participants were undergraduate women from a northeastern university. Dependent measures included three subscales of the Sexual Assertiveness Scale, an AIDS Prevention Self Efficacy measure, the Rathus Assertiveness Inventory, and three measures of self-reported recent sexual behavior. Two new communication-related subscales to the Sexual Assertiveness Scale were piloted. Additional measures of anticipated partner response to sexual assertiveness, and history of victimization were included to learn about their relationship to DV scores. Dependent measures were taken at four week intervals, providing pre-test, post-test and follow-up data. Significant decreases in mean scores on four DVs were noted over time, across conditions. These declining scores indicated that women reported less assertiveness and self-efficacy in AIDS prevention over the course of the study. Significant increases on mean scores over time were noted across conditions for two DVs, indicating that women reported more assertiveness in communicating about sex and about AIDS. For the two communication DVs, Sexual Assertiveness condition scores were lower than scores of the other conditions. Participation in the Sexual Assertiveness training condition was not associated with higher post-test or follow-up scores than participation in other conditions. Twenty five percent of the sample reported a history of sexual victimization. Victimization history was negatively correlated with Sexual Assertiveness and AIDS Prevention Self-Efficacy, but positively correlated with number of sexual partners in lifetime, and ever having had intercourse. Four self-report measures of sexual beliefs and behaviors were developed and piloted in the study. Five existing measures were validated. Implications for repeated measures studies and a possible initial response bias in reporting sexual assertiveness are explored.



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