Attaching Meaning to Sex: Attachment Styles and Possible Mediators of Safe Sex Behavior

Antonacci, Dominic (2014) Attaching Meaning to Sex: Attachment Styles and Possible Mediators of Safe Sex Behavior. Undergraduate thesis, under the direction of Dr. Carrie V. Smith from Psychology, The University of Mississippi.

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Attachment theory, first posited by Bowlby (1969, 1973, 1980), has been expanded and applied to many aspects of human development as well as to adult relationships. Hazan and Shaver (1987), for example, define romantic relationships as an interaction between caregiving, attachment, and sex. It would then be expected that attachment has an effect on sexual behavior, and indeed, Strachman and Impett (2009) have reported that anxious individuals are typically less likely to use condoms than avoidant individuals. This study attempted to explore the link between attachment and beliefs about sex and condom use as possible mediators for the differences seen in safe sex behavior. A one-time questionnaire assessing participants’ attachment styles, perceived barriers to condom use, reasons for engaging in sexual activity, perceptions of love and sex, and feelings of detachment was administered to 196 psychology students from the University of Mississippi and the University of Houston. A series of partial correlation analyses, controlling for gender, were run to analyze the relationships between attachment and these measures. Attachment anxiety was significantly correlated to engaging in unsafe sex because of partner barriers and a lack of access to condoms. It was also correlated to engaging in sex for intimacy, as a coping strategy, to affirm their own self-worth, for status among peers, and to please their partner. Attachment avoidance predicted engaging in sex for peer status, and was negatively correlated with having sex to foster intimacy.

Item Type: Thesis (Undergraduate)
Creators: Antonacci, Dominic
Student's Degree Program(s): B.A. Psychology
Thesis Advisor: Dr. Carrie V. Smith
Thesis Advisor's Department: Psychology
Institution: The University of Mississippi
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Depositing User: Dominic Antonacci
Date Deposited: 09 May 2014 18:44
Last Modified: 09 May 2014 18:44

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