Adolescent sexual behavior within an attachment framework
LE3 .A278 2007
Master of Science
Sexual relationships have not been a primary focus of attachment research, despite their importance to the development and maintenance of intimate relationships. The current study examined the role of attachment style in the sexual relationships of late adolescents. Ninety-four 18 and 19 year-old late adolescents (64 females) completed self report questionnaires that included a new measure of sexual attachment style, the 'Sexual Attachment Measure' (SAM), which had dimensions of secure, anxious-ambivalent, and avoidant styles. In addition, they completed self-reports of romantic attachment, sexual approach style, and sexual risk taking. The SAM had good psychometric properties, and the secure style was inversely related to the two insecure styles, with the two insecure styles being positively related. Expected patterns of sexual partner preferences were also related to specific sexual attachment styles. Concurrent validity of the SAM was also demonstrated. In this analysis, secure style was negatively related to romantic insecurity and avoidance. Sexual approach styles showed expected patterns of relations including ambivalence being related to a possessive style, and avoidance related to game playing. Finally, as hypothesized, sexual risk taking was related to sexual attachment style, and security was negatively and avoidance positively related to number of sexual partners, as well as some undesirable sexual behaviors including unwanted sexual experiences and use of verbal coercion. There were some gender differences apparent in this data. Implications of this research for the study of human relationships are discussed.
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