Why abstain from sex? building and psychometric testing of the Sexual Abstinence Motivation Scale (SAMS).
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An understanding of both sexual activity and sexual abstinence among young people is crucial in preventing the negative consequences of early sex initiation. The study of motivation is essential for health educators to be effective in persuading individuals to adopt healthy behaviors and avoid health-compromising ones. A discussion of the multi-dimensional construct of motivation for sexual abstinence is absent from the adolescent sexual behavior literature. Within this study, in-depth brainstorming sessions among college students and the construction of concept maps were used to identify and visually represent potentially relevant dimensions of motivation for sexual abstinence. Based upon these results, the Sexual Abstinence Motivation Scale (SAMS) was developed and psychometrically tested with a pilot group, as well as a statistically representative final group from two major universities in central Texas. Based on the results from this exploratory analysis, the final version of the SAMS included eight scales and 41 items. The eight factors were: Commitment to Self-Schema, Risk of Disappointing Authority Figures, Fear/Apprehension of the Sexual Experience, Fear of Physical Consequences, Value of Virginity, Reputation Regret, No Opportunity/Not Important, and Manipulation. The analyses of the psychometric properties of the SAMS lend support to the validity and reliability of scores it generated. The examination of convergent validity of the SAMS showed significant negative correlations with the Sexual Ideology Instrument -- an indication that the instrument appeared to be measuring motivation for sexual abstinence. Adequate reliability computed through Cronbach alpha demonstrated the items in the SAMS were measuring the same construct ? motivation for sexual abstinence. Prior to this study, assumptions about factors of motivation for sexual abstinence and their possible structure were unknown. Based on results of this examination, preliminary elements now exist that can be tested for the development of these assumptions. The dimensions uncovered in this analysis contribute to the development and refinement of a theory of motivation for sexual abstinence. Further examination, specifically confirmatory factor analysis using the SAMS, is needed.
Dunsmore, Sarah Catherine (2005). Why abstain from sex? building and psychometric testing of the Sexual Abstinence Motivation Scale (SAMS).. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from