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Sexual Fluidity: Identity Processes and Exploration in the Female Narrative

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dc.contributor Bishop, Meg
dc.contributor Chu-Richardson, Yani
dc.contributor.advisor Lilgendahl, Jennifer Bragg, Hilary 2012-05-17T13:07:30Z 2012-05-17T13:07:30Z 2012
dc.description.abstract Past research suggests that female sexuality may be more culturally and socially constructed, exhibiting more fluidity, than male sexuality. Until recently, little research has included women in sexuality research, claiming that their sexualities are too complicated. The present study attempted to examine sexual fluidity in women, and how this concept is incorporated into the process of identity formation and development through the identity processes of exploration and commitment. The narrative approach to identity was utilized — in order to grasp the individuality in experiences of sexuality — along with measures of sexual fluidity, psychological well-being, identity exploration and commitment and other identity development measures. Results suggest varied experiences of sexual fluidity and the importance of identity exploration and commitment in achieving high well-being. As hypothesized, fluidity was positively correlated with exploration. Furthermore, well-being was positively associated with both exploration and commitment. Finally, a moderated relationship between Identity Fluidity, exploration and well-being was observed, such that while independent of well-being in the presence of exploration, fluidity in the absence of exploration could be detrimental for one's well-being. A theoretical model of the relationship between two potential types of sexual fluidity, exploration and well-being is proposed and discussed in light of our emerging pattern of results. Implications, limitations and future directions are discussed.
dc.description.sponsorship Haverford College. Department of Psychology
dc.language.iso eng
dc.subject.lcsh Women -- Identity
dc.subject.lcsh Bisexuality -- Psychological aspects
dc.subject.lcsh Narration (Rhetoric) -- Psychological aspects
dc.subject.lcsh Women -- Sexual behavior
dc.title Sexual Fluidity: Identity Processes and Exploration in the Female Narrative
dc.type Thesis
dc.rights.access Haverford users only

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