Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Fall 2012

Document Type

Thesis

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Diane Martichuski

Abstract

Asexuality, or a lack of sexual attraction to any gender, is a relatively new topic in scientific literature. Research has hown that the asexual population has a higher rate of low selfesteem and depression than any other major sexual orientation (Nurius, 1983). I studied the cultural denial of asexuality and depression, self-esteem, and self-concept clarity in the asexual community. I compared three groups: asexually identified people (hereafter referred to as “asexuals” for short) that have not had their sexual identity challenged by someone outside of the community, asexuals that have had their identity challenged, and people who do not identify as asexual in order to compare levels of depression, self-esteem, and self-concept clarity among these three groups. I measured this by giving a survey to groups of those who identify as asexual and those that do not. I found participants through the Asexual Visibility and Education Network, also known as AVEN, and various other social networks where there is a strong Asexual community such as Tumblr and Facebook. Based on Nurius (1983) and Townsend’s (2006) studies, I expected to find higher rates of low self-esteem in asexuals who had had their identity challenged. I did not find differences in depression or self-concept clarity, but I did find that the asexual group who had not been challenged had higher self-esteem than either the asexual group that had been challenged or the sexual group.

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