Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Psychology



First Advisor

Kathryn Quina


Understanding the HIV/AIDS risk behaviors among heterosexual Asian/Pacific Islander (API) women requires an examination of the circumstances which place heterosexual women at risk of AIDS, as well as the cultural factors which affect API sexuality. Research has been conducted on samples of women, one of the fastest growing populations to be infected with HIV/AIDS, as well as API populations, who are susceptible to HIV infection as any other ethnic group. There is, however, a paucity of research concerning the sexuality of API women. Previous research regarding HIV/AIDS risk factors for women may not be culturally sensitive. Additionally, research pertaining to APIs may not address gender constructs.

The current study addresses the sexuality of API women by examining sexual attitudes and behaviors, as well as cultural variables in a sample of unmarried, heterosexual, college API women. Standard multiple regressions were performed to examine the relationship among sexual assertiveness, condom self-efficacy, decision-making in relationships and condom frequency, acculturation and individualism/collectivism.

Results suggest that acculturation may have an impact on API sexual behaviors, such as the age of sexual initiation. Once sexually active, however, acculturation does not appear to affect sexual behaviors or attitudes. Sexual behaviors of sexually active APIs in this study are similar to non-Asian female college samples. Additionally, sexual assertiveness - pregnancy/STD prevention emerged as a strong indicator of condom use among women who are sexually active.



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