Kevin Lewis

May 27, 2012

Identification of the Effect of Depression on Risky Sexual Behavior: Exploiting a Natural Experiment

Susan Averett & Yang Wang
American Economic Review, May 2012, Pages 570-574

Depression is pervasive in the US particularly among women. The costs in terms of direct medical costs and forgone earnings are substantial. This paper investigates an additional cost of depression. Using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Adolescent Health, we use a unique instrument, the attacks of September 11, which have been linked to depression, to identify the effect of depression on risky sexual behaviors. We find that depressed women are more likely to be sexually active, to engage in oral sex and to have sex without a condom, even after controlling for a rich set of covariates.


Ovulation Leads Women to Perceive Sexy Cads as Good Dads

Kristina Durante et al.
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, forthcoming

Why do some women pursue relationships with men who are attractive, dominant, and charming but who do not want to be in relationships - the prototypical sexy cad? Previous research shows that women have an increased desire for such men when they are ovulating, but it is unclear why ovulating women would think it is wise to pursue men who may be unfaithful and could desert them. Using both college-age and community-based samples, in 3 studies we show that ovulating women perceive charismatic and physically attractive men, but not reliable and nice men, as more committed partners and more devoted future fathers. Ovulating women perceive that sexy cads would be good fathers to their own children but not to the children of other women. This ovulatory-induced perceptual shift is driven by women who experienced early onset of puberty. Taken together, the current research identifies a novel proximate reason why ovulating women pursue relationships with sexy cads, complementing existing research that identifies the ultimate, evolutionary reasons for this behavior.


Sexual Orientation and Substance Use Among Adolescents and Young Adults

Karin Brewster & Kathryn Harker Tillman
American Journal of Public Health, June 2012, Pages 1168-1176

Objectives: We examined interrelationships among the 3 dimensions of sexual orientation - self-identity, sexual attraction, and sexual experience - and their associations with substance use among adolescents and young adults.

Methods: To estimate total and net associations of sexual identity, attraction, and experience with use of tobacco, drugs, and alcohol, we applied logistic regression to cross-sectional data from the National Survey of Family Growth Cycle 6.

Results: We found a lack of concordance among the different dimensions of sexual orientation. More youths reported same-gender sexual attraction and same-gender sexual experiences than identified as lesbian, gay, or bisexual. Estimates of substance use prevalence differed significantly by gender and across dimensions of sexual orientation. Sexual experience was the most consistent predictor of substance use. Women and men with no sexual experience had the lowest odds of all forms of substance use; those reporting sexual experience with partners of both genders had the highest odds.

Conclusions: Our findings indicate that sexual identity was less strongly associated with substance use than sexual experience and attraction were, pointing to the need for more nuanced indicators of sexual orientation in public health studies.


Gender Nonconformity, Sexual Orientation, and Psychological Well-Being

Gerulf Rieger & Ritch Savin-Williams
Archives of Sexual Behavior, June 2012, Pages 611-621

Both a same-sex sexual orientation and gender nonconformity have been linked with poorer well-being; however, sexual orientation and gender nonconformity are also correlated. It is, therefore, critical to investigate their independent contributions to well-being. Based on survey responses of 230 female and 245 male high school seniors, the present study is one of the first to provide empirical data on this topic. Both childhood and adolescent gender nonconformity were negatively related to well-being. In the same analyses, neither sexual orientation nor biological sex was a significant predictor of well-being. These results suggest that gender-atypical traits may be more relevant for psychological health than a same-sex sexual orientation. Both environmental and biological influences may account for these findings.


Do Women Prefer "Nice Guys"? The Effect of Male Dominance Behavior on Women's Ratings of Sexual Attractiveness

Gorkan Ahmetoglu & Viren Swami
Social Behavior and Personality, May 2012, Pages 667-672

We examined whether or not different behavioral expressions of dominance by a male affected how introverted and extraverted women rated his sexual attractiveness. We assessed 81 women on the extraversion scale of the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire-Revised Short Scale (Eysenck & Eysenck, 1991), and they then watched a 1-minute silent video of a male confederate in 3 dominance conditions (closed body posture [low], open body posture [medium], and open body posture with gesticulation [high]) and rated the male for sexual attractiveness. Results showed that higher dominance behavior significantly increased the confederate's attractiveness, accounting for 10% of the variance in attractiveness ratings. However, the women's personalities appeared to have no significant effect on these ratings. These results are discussed in relation to extant literature on the phenomenon that women do not select "nice guys" in preference to other men.


The Roles of Featural and Configural Face Processing in Snap Judgments of Sexual Orientation

Joshua Tabak & Vivian Zayas
PLoS ONE, May 2012

Research has shown that people are able to judge sexual orientation from faces with above-chance accuracy, but little is known about how these judgments are formed. Here, we investigated the importance of well-established face processing mechanisms in such judgments: featural processing (e.g., an eye) and configural processing (e.g., spatial distance between eyes). Participants judged sexual orientation from faces presented for 50 milliseconds either upright, which recruits both configural and featural processing, or upside-down, when configural processing is strongly impaired and featural processing remains relatively intact. Although participants judged women's and men's sexual orientation with above-chance accuracy for upright faces and for upside-down faces, accuracy for upside-down faces was significantly reduced. The reduced judgment accuracy for upside-down faces indicates that configural face processing significantly contributes to accurate snap judgments of sexual orientation.


The dangers of dating the "bad boy" (or girl): When does romantic desire encourage us to take on the negative qualities of potential partners?

Erica Slotter & Wendi Gardner
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, forthcoming

People generally strive to maintain positive views of themselves. Even in the face of negative feedback, individuals frequently protect the self-concept from incorporating negative information. Two studies examined a potential exception to that rule: whether and when romantic desire may motivate individuals to spontaneously adopt the negative attributes of a potential partner. Study 1 demonstrated the basic effect such that single individuals spontaneously incorporated negative attributes of a potential romantic partner into their self-concepts, and incorporation was magnified by desire for the partner. Study 2 explored boundary conditions of these effects. Negative attributes were only incorporated if the potential partner expressed self-acceptance about possessing these attributes; when potential partners reported wishing to change the negative attribute, it was not adopted into the self-concept. Attribute extremity also moderated incorporation. The implications of these results for understanding the nuances of motivated self-malleability are discussed.


Social Climate for Sexual Minorities Predicts Well-Being Among Heterosexual Offspring of Lesbian and Gay Parents

David Lick et al.
Sexuality Research and Social Policy, June 2012, Pages 99-112

Social climate - specifically, the level of support for sexual minorities in a given locale - helps to explain well-being among lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) individuals. No published reports have examined whether well-being also varies as a function of social climate for family members of LGB individuals. We present results from two studies (Study 1, n = 69; Study 2, n = 70) demonstrating that social climate predicts well-being among adults reared by LGB parents, regardless of their own sexual orientation. Across both studies, population characteristics (e.g., density of same-sex couples in an area) emerged as the strongest and most consistent predictors of well-being. Some variables assessing local politics (e.g., LGB hate crime policy) also predicted well-being, though these associations were less robust. Overall, findings suggest that the social environment for sexual minorities is an important correlate of psychological adjustment for many Americans, regardless of their sexual orientation.


STD and HIV Risk Factors Among U.S. Young Adults: Variations by Gender, Race, Ethnicity and Sexual Orientation

Sanyu Mojola & Bethany Everett
Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, forthcoming

Context: STDs, including HIV, disproportionately affect individuals who have multiple minority identities. Understanding differences in STD risk factors across racial, ethnic and sexual minority groups, as well as genders, is important for tailoring public health interventions.

Methods: Data from Waves 3 (2001-2002) and 4 (2007-2008) of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health were used to develop population-based estimates of STD and HIV risk factors among 11,045 young adults (mean age, 29 at Wave 4), by gender, race and ethnicity, and sexual orientation (heterosexual, mixed-oriented, gay). Regression analyses were conducted to examine associations between risk factors and young adults' characteristics.

Results: Overall, sexual-minority women in each racial or ethnic group had a higher prevalence of sexual risk behaviors - including a history of multiple partners, forced sex and incarceration - than their heterosexual counterparts. Mixed-oriented women in each racial or ethnic group were more likely than heterosexual white women to have received an STD diagnosis (odds ratios, 1.8-6.4). Black men and sexual-minority men also appeared to be at heightened risk. Gay men in all racial and ethnic groups were significantly more likely than heterosexual white men to report having received an STD diagnosis (2.3-8.3); compared with heterosexual white men, mixed-oriented black men had the highest odds of having received such a diagnosis (15.2).

Conclusions: Taking account of multiple minority identities should be an important part of future research and intervention efforts for STD and HIV prevention.


Fertility in the Mothers of Firstborn Homosexual and Heterosexual Men

Ray Blanchard
Archives of Sexual Behavior, June 2012, Pages 551-556

This study tested the balancing selection hypothesis, that is, genes predisposing men to homosexuality escape elimination from the population because the decreased fertility of men with the heritable form of homosexuality is offset by an increased fertility among biological relatives who carry the same genetic variants. The index subjects (probands) were 40,197 firstborn heterosexual men and 4,784 firstborn homosexual men retrieved from six archival data sets, all of which had previously been used in published research. The measure of familial (specifically, parental) fertility was the proband's number of younger siblings. The results directly contradicted the prediction of the balancing selection hypothesis. In four of the six samples, the homosexual probands had significantly fewer younger siblings; in the other two samples, the means were not significantly different. It is possible that mothers who produce a homosexual son at their first delivery include a biologically distinct subpopulation of mothers of homosexual sons.


Ex Appeal: Current Relationship Quality and Emotional Attachment to Ex-Partners

Stephanie Spielmann et al.
Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Relationship research typically treats feelings about current romantic partners as independent of any lingering attachment to past partners. In contrast, the current study tests for an inverse association between current relationship quality and attachment to ex-partners. A longitudinal study followed individuals in relationships at three points over the course of 6 months. Participants reported their current relationship quality, emotional attachment to ex-partners, and perceived quality of relationship alternatives. Longitudinal declines in relationship quality predicted increased longing for ex-partners, above and beyond attention to relationship alternatives more generally. On the other hand, increased longing for ex-partners over time predicted decreased relationship quality, but only among those considering recent ex-partners. These findings suggest that ex-partners may be used in a substitution process to bolster belongingness needs when relationships sour and that resolving feelings for one's most recent ex may be important for maximizing a new relationship's potential.


Destructive Women and the Men Who Can't Leave Them: Pathological Dependence or Pathological Omnipotence?

Henry Friedman
American Journal of Psychoanalysis, June 2012, Pages 139-151

Clinicians have focused more on the troubling issue of women who are dominated and abused by men than they have on those occasions where men are abused by women. While usually not involving physical abuse, the destructiveness of some women, expressed in terms of harsh and destructive verbal and interpersonal behavior can be so striking and persistent that it should remain of interest to psychoanalysts. This clinical paper examines two examples of male patients who, while accomplished in many spheres of their lives, are nevertheless engaged in marriages to women whose hateful behavior toward them is impossible to deny. Despite considerable awareness of how much they are damaged by their wives, they are either unwilling or unable to utilize separation and divorce as tools to protect themselves, with the ultimate goal of starting life again free of the persecutory other. The dynamics involved for men stuck in such dyads are considered, including the possible negative role of a systems approach to couples' therapy that assumes mutual responsibility for the couples' dysfunction and distress.


Young Adults' Contraceptive Knowledge, Norms and Attitudes: Associations with Risk Of Unintended Pregnancy

Jennifer Frost, Laura Duberstein Lindberg & Lawrence Finer
Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, forthcoming

Context: Women aged 18-29 have higher rates of unintended pregnancy than any other age-group. Information is needed to understand what characteristics are associated with risky contraceptive use practices among this population and to develop new strategies for reducing these women's risk of unintended pregnancy.

Methods: Data related to unintended pregnancy risk were collected from a nationally representative sample of 1,800 unmarried women and men aged 18-29 surveyed by telephone in 2009. Among those at risk of unintended pregnancy, multiple logistic regression was used to assess associations between contraceptive knowledge, norms and attitudes and selected risky contraceptive behaviors.

Results: More than half of young men and a quarter of young women received low scores on contraceptive knowledge, and six in 10 underestimated the effectiveness of oral contraceptives. Among women, for each correct response on a contraceptive knowledge scale, the odds of expecting to have unprotected sex in the next three months decreased by 9%, of currently using a hormonal or long-acting reversible method increased by 17%, and of using no method decreased by 17%. Fear of side effects, norms and attitudes that favor nonmarital pregnancy or undervalue the importance of contraception, pregnancy ambivalence and mistrust of government's role in promoting contraception were also associated with one or more risky contraceptive use behaviors.

Conclusions: Programs to increase young adults' knowledge about contraceptive methods and use are urgently needed. Given the demonstrated link between method knowledge and contraceptive behaviors, such programs may be useful in addressing risky behavior in this population.


Sibling Sex Ratio and Birth Order in Early-Onset Gender Dysphoric Adolescents

Sebastian Schagen et al.
Archives of Sexual Behavior, June 2012, Pages 541-549

Several sibship-related variables have been studied extensively in sexual orientation research, especially in men. Sibling sex ratio refers to the ratio of brothers to sisters in the aggregate sibships of a group of probands. Birth order refers to the probands' position (e.g., first-born, middle-born, last-born) within their sibships. Fraternal birth order refers to their position among male siblings only. Such research was extended in this study to a large group of early-onset gender dysphoric adolescents. The probands comprised 94 male-to-female and 95 female-to-male gender dysphoric adolescents. The overwhelming majority of these were homosexual or probably prehomosexual. The control group consisted of 875 boys and 914 girls from the TRAILS study. The sibling sex ratio of the gender dysphoric boys was very high (241 brothers per 100 sisters) compared with the expected ratio (106:100). The excess of brothers was more extreme among the probands' older siblings (300:100) than among their younger siblings (195:100). Between-groups comparisons showed that the gender dysphoric boys had significantly more older brothers, and significantly fewer older sisters and younger sisters, than did the control boys. In contrast, the only notable finding for the female groups was that the gender dysphoric girls had significantly fewer total siblings than did the control girls. The results for the male probands were consistent with prior speculations that a high fraternal birth order (i.e., an excess of older brothers) is found in all homosexual male groups, but an elevated sibling sex ratio (usually caused by an additional, smaller excess of younger brothers) is characteristic of gender dysphoric homosexual males. The mechanisms underlying these phenomena remain unknown.


Perceived, not actual, similarity predicts initial attraction in a live romantic context: Evidence from the speed-dating paradigm

Natasha Tidwell, Paul Eastwick & Eli Finkel
Personal Relationships, forthcoming

The "similarity-attraction" effect stands as one of the most well-known findings in social psychology. However, some research contends that perceived but not actual similarity influences attraction. The current study is the first to examine the effects of actual and perceived similarity simultaneously during a face-to-face initial romantic encounter. Participants attending a speed-dating event interacted with ∼12 members of the opposite sex for 4 min each. Actual and perceived similarity for each pair were calculated from questionnaire responses assessed before the event and after each date. Data revealed that perceived, but not actual, similarity significantly predicted romantic liking in this speed-dating context. Furthermore, perceived similarity was a far weaker predictor of attraction when assessed using specific traits rather than generally.


The effect of attachment orientation priming on pain sensitivity in pain-free individuals

Angela Rowe et al.
Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, June 2012, Pages 488-507

The current study examined the causal relationship between secure and anxious attachment orientations and pain sensitivity in a pain-free sample. In a double blind repeated measures study, a cold pressor task was used to induce acute pain in 95 participants before and after priming them with a secure or anxious attachment orientation or a neutral prime. Measures of pain threshold, tolerance, catastrophizing and intensity were taken. Compared to the neutral prime, secure and anxious primes resulted in higher tolerance and threshold. The experimental conditions did not differ in reported pain intensity or pain catastrophizing. These findings suggest a causal relationship between attachment experiences and pain sensitivity that may be of interest to those devising and researching pain management interventions.


Honeymoon Vacation: Sexual-Orientation Prejudice and Inconsistent Behavioral Responses

Dawn Howerton, Andrea Meltzer & Michael Olson
Basic and Applied Social Psychology, March/April 2012, Pages 146-151

Majority group members often hold inconsistent attitudes and behave inconsistently toward minority group members (LaPiere, 1934). We conceptually replicated LaPiere (1934) to examine discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in two studies. As predicted, randomly selected bed-and-breakfasts were more likely to discriminate against gay male individuals when impersonally contacted (Study 1) than when personally contacted (Study 2), suggesting an attitude-behavior discrepancy. We reason that establishments were more likely to discriminate when they did not have the motivation to appear nonprejudicial, and we discuss the results in terms of the MODE model of attitude-behavioral processes.


The Interactive Role of Implicit and Explicit Partner Evaluations on Ongoing Affective and Behavioral Romantic Realities

Etienne LeBel & Lorne Campbell
Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Past research on close relationships has increasingly focused on the assessment of implicit constructs to shed new light on relationship processes. However, virtually nothing is known about the role of such constructs in understanding ongoing affective and behavioral romantic realities and how implicit and explicit relationship constructs interact in the context of daily relationship outcomes. Using a 21-day diary approach, the present research examined the unique and interactive role of implicit partner evaluations and explicit partner perceptions on relationship outcomes (daily relationship quality and positive relationship behaviors enacted toward partner). Results showed that more positive implicit partner evaluations uniquely predicted more positive relationship outcomes during the 21-day diary period, but that this was especially pronounced in individuals who did not explicitly perceive their partner's attributes in an overly positive manner. Implications for the close relationship literature are discussed.


Sun, Sand, and Citizenship: The Marketing of Gay Tourism

David Coon
Journal of Homosexuality, April 2012, Pages 511-534

This article investigates trends in the marketing of gay and lesbian tourism. It reviews gay and lesbian travel guides from the 1960s to the 1990s before examining more recent travel materials including brochures and Web sites promoting specific American cities. These promotional materials are a valuable object of inquiry because they are uniquely situated at the intersection of discussions of sexuality, the market, representation, space, and citizenship. Through an aggregate semiotic analysis and ideological criticism, this article examines themes and concerns raised by the recent wave of gay tourism marketing, including questions of visibility, privacy, and assimilation. I argue that while marketers' recent attempts to lure gay and lesbian tourists to specific destinations may seem to suggest increased tolerance and societal inclusion, the specific strategies that they employ actually reveal the second-class citizen status still experienced by gays and lesbians within the rest of American society.

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