Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Educational and Counseling Psychology


Counseling Psychology

Content Description

1 online resource (ix, 90 pages) : illustrations.

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Jessica L. Martin

Committee Members

Frank R. Dillon, Hung-Bin Sheu


Discrimination, Ethnic identity commitment, Latina college students, Sexism, Sexual risk behaviors, Hispanic American women college students, Sex role, Unsafe sex, Intersectionality (Sociology)

Subject Categories

Counseling Psychology | Latin American Studies | Women's Studies


According to intersectionality theory, exposure to experiences of oppression predispose individuals from disadvantaged groups to experience disparities in health. Such disparities are evident in the sexual health outcomes among college student-age Latina women living in the US, who tend to report significantly worse sexual health outcomes than their peers. Guided by intersectionality frameworks, the present study examined Latina college students’ sexual risk behaviors in relation to ethnic identity and experiences of discrimination and sexism. Commitment to ethnic identity was expected to negatively relate with sexual risk, and experiences of discrimination and sexism were hypothesized to moderate the association between commitment to ethnic identity and engagement in sexual risk behaviors. In contrast with hypotheses, results indicated that condom use was not associated any study variables, and discrimination and sexism did not moderate the association between commitment to ethnic identity and condom use. As correlations revealed that condom use was a weak correlate of past history of a sexually transmitted infection in comparison to participants’ reported number of sexual partners, post hoc analyses were conducted to assess study hypotheses with number of sexual partners as the dependent variable. Findings uncovered that sexism, but not discrimination, moderated the association between commitment to ethnic identity and number of partners, such that Latinas with lower levels of ethnic identity commitment had, on average, approximately five more sexual partners if they had reported greater experiences of sexism in their lifetime. Results shed light on unexpectedly low condom use rates in a national sample of Latina college students and highlight the importance of sexist experiences as contributing to an increased number of partners among Latinas with relatively low ethnic identity commitment. Findings indicate a continued need for sexual health interventions to reduce adverse sexual health outcomes in this at-risk, marginalized group.