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Sexual Fluidity, Identity Processes, and Well-Being: An Integrative Approach to Female Sexual Identity

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Title: Sexual Fluidity, Identity Processes, and Well-Being: An Integrative Approach to Female Sexual Identity
Author: Bishop, Meg
Advisor: Lilgendahl, Jennifer L.
Department: Haverford College. Dept. of Psychology
Type: Thesis (B.A.)
Issue Date: 2012
Abstract: In light of a growing body of literature suggesting that female sexual identity may be experienced as fluid and contextual rather than linear and essentialist, the current study sought to investigate the psychological processes that drive non-heterosexual identity development among women in the stage of emerging adulthood. A sample of 109 women between the ages of 18 and 30 completed an online questionnaire including measures of sexual fluidity, narrative exploration, identity process variables, and well-being in order to elucidate trends in sexual identity development and understand how these trends related to identity processes and well-being. As hypothesized, measures of fluidity were positively associated with measures of identity exploration, and identity processes variables including exploration and commitment were positively associated with well-being. Additionally, exploration moderated the association between fluidity and well-being such that those who were highly fluid but low in exploration scored lower in well-being. Two distinct patterns of correlations between our main study variables are discussed as a reflection of two conceptually distinct experiences of sexual fluidity: uncertain fluidity which requires active identity exploration to combat threats to well-being, and committed fluidity, which does not depend on high levels of identity exploration to maintain well-being. A conceptual model of the relationship between fluidity, identity exploration, and well-being is developed, and implications for future research are discussed.
Subject: Women -- Identity
Subject: Women -- Sexual behavior
Subject: Bisexuality -- Psychological aspects
Terms of Use: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/us/
Permanent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10066/8759

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2012BishopM_thesis.pdf Thesis (Haverford Users Only) 1.350Mb PDF
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Citation

Bishop, Meg. "Sexual Fluidity, Identity Processes, and Well-Being: An Integrative Approach to Female Sexual Identity". 2012. Available electronically from http://hdl.handle.net/10066/8759.

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http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/us/ Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/us/

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