2005 Student Research Conference:
18th Annual Student Research Conference

Social Science

Control in Sexual Situations?
Tim R. Olliges*, Kathryn S. Gallaher, Jamie Simon, and Bethany Ellis
Dr. Judith M. Misale, Faculty Mentor

Control in sexual situations often determines health outcomes, and numerous sexual outcomes illustrate the importance of actual versus illusory control. Guided by the assumption that erroneous and/or biased control beliefs increase sexual risk, we examined several control-related variables using a 2 (Perspective) X 2 (Gender) between-subjects design. We assessed male and female students' perceptions of control in sexual situations either from their own perspective or from the perspective of most college students. Results showed participants responding for themselves generally reported an inflated level of personal control relative to most college students and they likewise attributed this inflated control to close friends of both sexes. Investigation of activities directly associated with sexual risk showed students' sexual experiences were frequently inconsistent with their perception of control, suggesting illusory control beliefs in both males and females, most likely fueled by cognitive and motivational biases that contribute to increased sexual risk.



Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 43-2
Location: VH 1232
Time: 2:30

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