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Interpersonal Relationships and HealthSocial and Clinical Psychological Mechanisms$
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Christopher R. Agnew and Susan C. South

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199936632

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199936632.001.0001

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Personality Effects on Risky Sexual Behavior

Personality Effects on Risky Sexual Behavior

The Importance of Dynamic Situational Processes and Relational Contexts

(p.252) Chapter 11 Personality Effects on Risky Sexual Behavior
Interpersonal Relationships and Health

M. Lynne Cooper

Ruixue Zhaoyang

Oxford University Press

Historically, efforts to understand sexual behavior, especially risky sexual behavior, have focused on stable characteristics of the person in isolation from characteristics of the partner and the context in which sexual experience takes place. In this chapter, we will argue that although the beliefs, attitudes, values, needs, and personal preferences of the individual play an important role in shaping one’s sexual experience, these contributions cannot be understood in the abstract. An adequate understanding of sexual behavior requires that we consider the complex interplay among the person, his or her partner, and situational constraints and affordances as they unfold over time. Data from a large community sample of adolescents followed over 15 years, a substudy of these individuals interviewed with their romantic partner, and two diary studies of young adults will be used to illustrate some of the limitations of a static, individual-level perspective and point the way toward a more comprehensive and promising model of sexual behavior that embraces both its dynamic and relational nature.

Keywords:   personality, sexual behavior, transactional models, person × situation interactionism, multilevel modeling, diary study, partner effect, relational context, situational context

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