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Title: Assessing sexual self-concept and its relationship with psychological well-being among late adolescents in Hong Kong
Author(s): Ng, Anna Hoi Nga 
Boey, Kam Weng 
Issue Date: 2019
Conference: International Conference on Education, Psychology, and Social Sciences (ICEPS2019) 
Background and objectives: Late adolescence was a stage of active sexual exploration and sexual identity formation. However, relatively few studies focused on late adolescents’ sexual self-concept (SSC), which referred to thinking, feelings, and action tendency regarding oneself as a sexual being. Favorable self-evaluation of SSC reflected good sexual health status. This study examined the sexual health status of late adolescents in terms of SSC. The relationships of SSC with psychological well-being were also explored.

Method: Based on literature review, case studies, and clinical observations, eight aspects of SSC relevant to childhood aversive sexual experience, risky sexual behavior, and intimate relationship in late adolescence were identified. The eight aspects of SSC were considered indicators that highlighted the sexual health status of late adolescents. Eight SSC subscales that corresponded with the aspects of SSC were adapted from the Multidimensional Sexual Self-concept Questionnaire developed by Snell (1998). The eight subscales consisted of three principal components, viz., positive SSC (sexual esteem, sexual efficacy, and sexual satisfaction), negative SSC (sexual anxiety, sexual depression, and sexual fear), and situational SSC (sexual motivation and sexual consciousness). A questionnaire containing the eight SSC subscales, measures of psychological well-being (global self-esteem and life satisfaction), and other sexuality items was designed for data collection. Reliability and validity of all measuring scales had been established in Hong Kong. A total of 735 late adolescents were invited to participate in the study through convenience sampling. Among the participants, 63.7% were females, 98.1% unmarried, 90.8% college students, and 88.7% not totally independent in financial status. The socio-demographic characteristics of the participants were similar with that of emerging adulthood described by Arnett (2000). The questionnaires were administered after informed consent was solicited. Participation was voluntary and anonymous.

Results: Late adolescents were moderately poor in positive SSC (i.e., sexual esteem, sexual efficacy, and sexual satisfaction) and relatively healthy in negative SSC (sexual anxiety, sexual depression, and sexual fear). Their sexual motivation and sexual consciousness were relatively low. One-way ANOVA revealed that male adolescents scored higher than did female adolescents on the three subscales of positive SSC [F (1,683) = 22.99 to 30.62, p<.001] and also on sexual depression [F (1,683) = 46.46, p < .001], whereas female adolescents reported greater sexual fear [F (1, 683) = 45.84, p<.001] and lower sexual motivation and sexual consciousness [F (1,683) = 131.14 and 91.63 respectively, p<.001]. Female adolescents were found to be lower in sexual desires [2(3) = 180.36, p < .001] and frequency of sexual activities [2(3) = 157.47, p < .001]. Nonetheless, they felt more satisfied with life than did male adolescents [F (1, 683) = 5.60, p < .01].

Scores on SSC subscales were found to be mildly or moderately related to global self
Scores on SSC subscales were found to be mildly or moderately related to global self-esteem and life satisfaction. However, the relationships were stronger among males adolescents [r (247) = 0.23 to 0.44, p < .001) than were females adolescents [r (438) = 0.06 to 0.12, p >.10 or p <.05). Sexual problems of female virginal intercourse difficulties and male premature ejaculation exerted aversive impacts on both positive SSC and negative SSC. Premature ejaculation was associated with poorer global self-esteem [F (2, 239) = 8.11, p < .001] and lower life satisfaction [F (2, 239) = 5.25, p < .01] among male adolescents. No significant effects of virginal intercourse difficulty on psychological well-being of female adolescents were found.

Conclusion: Late adolescents did not exhibit high levels of positive SSC but were relatively healthy in terms of negative SSC. Gender differences in SSC and in the association of SSC with psychological well-being were observed. Sexual problems exerted aversive impacts on SSC of both male and female adolescents, but were negatively associated with psychological well-being among male adolescents only. Gender differences needed to be taken into account when examining sexual health status of late adolescents.
CIHE Affiliated Publication: Yes
Appears in Collections:HL Publication

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