Event Title

Young Adults’ Sexual Self-Categorization, Sexual Esteem, and Self-Disclosure

Poster Number

094

Faculty Mentor

Merry Sleigh, Ph.D.

College

College of Arts and Sciences

Department

Psychology

Location

Richardson Ballroom

Start Date

20-4-2018 2:15 PM

End Date

20-4-2018 4:15 PM

Description

Individuals can choose their own sexual identities and labels; however, most people will limit themselves to those most commonly accepted. We examined how label selection related to sexual self-esteem, -disclosure, and -acceptance. We hypothesized that more people would identify with traditional sexual labels than emerging categories, and that those who did not would self-disclose (including offering more explanations) at a higher level. Participants were 81 young adults, with a mean age of 21.39 (SD = 3.33); 65% were Caucasian, while 35% reported other ethnicities. One quarter of our sample identified as non-heterosexual. Participants responded to scales that assessed sexual self-esteem, sexual self-disclosure, and sexual self-acceptance. We also asked participants to identify their own sexual labels and then to indicate how closely they aligned with different sexual orientation categories. Our hypotheses were supported. We found that today’s young adults prefer traditional labels, perhaps reflecting adherence to societal norms or a lack of knowledge regarding the emergence of newer sexual identities. Young adults who selected non-traditional alternatives provided more lengthy explanations, justification, and self-disclosure. This greater self-disclosure might be explained as an attempt to avoid being misunderstood by others (as argued by previous researchers) or as comfort with one’s own identity. The latter argument is supported by the fact that participants who self-disclosed at a higher level also reported more confidence in their sexual behavior. These findings add to our limited, but growing, understanding of individuals who choose to identify with non-traditional sexualities.

Previously Presented/Performed?

Southeastern Psychological Association (SEPA) Annual Meeting, Charleston, South Carolina, March 2018

Course Assignment

PSYC 302 – Sleigh

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Apr 20th, 2:15 PM Apr 20th, 4:15 PM

Young Adults’ Sexual Self-Categorization, Sexual Esteem, and Self-Disclosure

Richardson Ballroom

Individuals can choose their own sexual identities and labels; however, most people will limit themselves to those most commonly accepted. We examined how label selection related to sexual self-esteem, -disclosure, and -acceptance. We hypothesized that more people would identify with traditional sexual labels than emerging categories, and that those who did not would self-disclose (including offering more explanations) at a higher level. Participants were 81 young adults, with a mean age of 21.39 (SD = 3.33); 65% were Caucasian, while 35% reported other ethnicities. One quarter of our sample identified as non-heterosexual. Participants responded to scales that assessed sexual self-esteem, sexual self-disclosure, and sexual self-acceptance. We also asked participants to identify their own sexual labels and then to indicate how closely they aligned with different sexual orientation categories. Our hypotheses were supported. We found that today’s young adults prefer traditional labels, perhaps reflecting adherence to societal norms or a lack of knowledge regarding the emergence of newer sexual identities. Young adults who selected non-traditional alternatives provided more lengthy explanations, justification, and self-disclosure. This greater self-disclosure might be explained as an attempt to avoid being misunderstood by others (as argued by previous researchers) or as comfort with one’s own identity. The latter argument is supported by the fact that participants who self-disclosed at a higher level also reported more confidence in their sexual behavior. These findings add to our limited, but growing, understanding of individuals who choose to identify with non-traditional sexualities.