Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Psychology



First Advisor

Lisa L. Harlow


A multidimensional approach to assertiveness in sexual behavior (for initiation, refusal, and birth control discussion/use) was used in order to examine the degree to which a woman is able to assert herself with a sexual partner. A sample of 234 college women was administered a large-scale questionnaire inquiring about sexual attitudes and behaviors, past and present relationships, substance use, and AIDS-related issues. In Study 1, a random subsample of 103 females drawn from the total sample of 234 was used in order to predict a woman's ability to assert herself sexually in a variety of sexual situations using multiple regression techniques. In Study 2, a cross-validation of the findings was examined using structural modeling methods. This second study consisted of the total sample (N=234), and incorporated the significant predictors of sexual assertiveness found in Study 1, mediated by self-efficacy for AIDS-prevention behaviors. In Study 3, the means of the variables were compared for invariance across two random subsamples of the original sample. The results indicate that for college women, past and present relationship issues are strongly associated with their level of assertion for sexual behavior. The results are discussed and future directions suggested.



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