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Religiousness and congruence between sexual values and behavior.

Religious individuals often adopt strict morals and values about sexual behavior; however, their actual behavior may or may not line up to these attitudes. This low sexual congruence may be especially common among younger individuals. For example, a study of adolescents comparing those who made abstinence pledges and those who did not found no differences in occurrence of premarital sex and sexually transmitted diseases between these two groups five years after their pledges (Rosenbaum, 2009). Furthermore, 82% of pledgers denied having made the pledge five years later (Rosenbaum, 2009). Similarly, a study of "hooking up" in college students found that although religiousness was a moderate predictor of negative attitudes toward "hooking up" in both males and females, religiousness was a weak predictor of actual "hooking up" behavior for women, and it was not a significant predictor for men (Owen, Rhoades, Stanley, & Fincham, 2010).

This research is consistent with previous research on cognitive dissonance (Festinger, 1957), in which incongruence between attitudes and behavior creates a negative, motivational state, which impels individuals to reduce the inconsistency and ease the tension. Although research on cognitive dissonance is ample, and sexual incongruence may be common, especially for young people, there has been little empirical research that has explored (a) what types of individuals may be more likely to struggle with sexual congruence, as well as (b) possible consequences that may arise from sexual incongruence. The current investigation explores the intersection between religion and sexual congruence.

Religious individuals may be particularly susceptible to the cognitive dissonance evoked by sexual incongruence because many conservative religious groups teach that the only acceptable sexual expression occurs within the context of a heterosexual marriage, with the most conservative groups even proscribing sexual expression without a partner (e.g., masturbation; Beck, 2011). However, social pressures around sexuality have changed over the past 100 years, including (a) an increasingly sexualized popular culture with easy access to sexualized media and (b) an increased length of singleness due to increasing spans of education and time needed to establish a professional identity (Kwee & Hoover, 2008). Therefore, such religious teachings have become increasingly difficult to practice, causing increased tension between sexual attitudes and behavior among religious youth.

There may be consequences for individuals who struggle to maintain sexual congruence. For example, not living up to one's standards can lead to guilt, shame, difficulty forgiving the self from past mistakes, and struggles with one's relationship with God (Worthington, 2013). Sexual incongruence may also lead individuals to pathologize developmental^ normative behavior (e.g., sexual exploration). For example, Kwee, Dominguez, and Ferrell (2007) noted that religious male clients would often view unwanted sexual thoughts, feelings, and behaviors as a sexual addiction, irrespective of whether they met criteria for an addiction. Similarly, Grubbs, Exline, Pargament, Hook, and Carlisle (2015) found that religiousness was a positive predictor of perceived addiction to pornography, even when actual pornography use was held constant, and the relationship between religiousness and perceived addiction to pornography was mediated by moral disapproval of pornography use. Their findings indicate that religious individuals who disapprove of a certain sexual behavior (e.g., viewing pornography) but still engage in that behavior often experience profound distress and negative interpretations of that behavior (Grubbs et al., 2015).

Thus, although there has been theory and some indirect research showing that sexual incongruence may be more common in religious individuals and may be related to negative consequences, no research has measured the construct of sexual congruence and tested these hypotheses directly. In the present studies, we investigated the role of religion and sexual congruence. We had two main hypotheses. First, we hypothesized that more highly religious individuals would report lower levels of sexual congruence, even when controlling for objective levels of sexual behavior (similar to Grubbs et al., 2015). Second, we hypothesized that sexual incongruence would be related to negative intrapersonal consequences, such as difficulties forgiving the self and higher levels of spiritual struggle following engaging in a sexual behavior that was against one's values. Also, we hypothesized that individuals with lower levels of sexual congruence would be more likely to view themselves as having high levels of problematic sexual behavior, even when controlling for objective levels of sexual behavior.

Study 1

In Study 1, we began to explore the relationship between religiousness and sexual congruence. We hypothesized that more religious participants would show lower levels of sexual congruence, even when controlling for objective sexual behavior.

Method

Participants and procedure. Participants were 491 college students who reported being involved in a romantic relationship. The mean age was 21.1 years (SD = 4.4). Participants were 25.3% male, 73.7% female, and 1.0% other. Participants were 56.2% White, 14.7% Black, 7.5% Asian, 16.5% Latino, 1.2% Native American, and 3.9% Multiracial. Participants were 89.4% Heterosexual, 3.9% Gay/Lesbian, 5.3% Bisexual and 1.4% Other (e.g., pansexual). Participants were 69.0% Christian, 2.2% Muslim, 1.6% Buddhist, 1.0% Hindu, 1.4% Jewish, 0.2% Mormon, 4.5% Atheist, 9.2% Agnostic, and 10.8% None.

Participants were recruited from undergraduate courses at a large university in the Southwestern United States. Participants completed the study online. First, participants read an informed consent sheet that described the study and their rights as participants. Specifically, participants read that they would be asked to answer questions regarding their romantic relationship and sexual experiences. Participants also read about procedures to ensure confidentiality. After giving consent, participants completed a series of questionnaires. After completing the questionnaires, participants were debriefed and given the contact information of the researcher should they have any questions or concerns about the study. Participants received a small amount of course credit or extra credit in exchange for completing the study.

Measures

Sexual Values Scale (SVS). The SVS was created for the present study, and consisted of seven items that assessed the extent to which participants experienced sexual congruence. First, participants were directed to describe their morals and values regarding the sexual part of their life. Second, participants completed the seven items of the SVS. For each item, participants were asked to indicate the extent to which each aspect of their sexual life aligned with their morals and values. Participants rated each item on a 5-point rating scale from 1 = not at all aligned to 5 = completely aligned. A principal components analysis revealed that a single factor best accounted for the variance in items. Factor loadings ranged from .60 to .94. Means, standard deviations, and factor loadings for items are in Table 1. For the current sample, the Cronbach's alpha coefficient was .92

Religious Commitment Inventory--10 (RCI-10). Religious commitment was measured with the RCI-10 (Worthington et al., 2003). The RCI-10 consists of 10 items that assess one's commitment to one's religion (e.g., "Religion is especially important to me because it answers many questions about the meaning of life"). Participants rate each item on a 5-point rating scale from 1 = not at all true of me to 5 = totally true of me. Scores on the RCI-10 have shown evidence for internal consistency and construct validity (Worthington et al., 2003). For the current sample, the Cronbach's alpha coefficient was .97.

Objective sexual behavior. We asked several questions to assess actual levels of sexual behavior. First, to assess sexual behavior without a partner, participants answered the following question "On average, how many times a month do you masturbate?" on a 5-point rating scale from 1 = never to 5 = more than 12. Second, to assess sexual behavior with a partner, participants answered how many times per month they engaged in the following behaviors: oral sex, anal sex, penile-vaginal sex, and manual stimulation of one another's genitals on a 5-point rating scale from 1 = never to 5 = more than 12. We then calculated the mean score for sexual behavior with a partner (Cronbach's alpha for sexual behavior with a partner was .76). Finally, to assess total sexual behavior, we calculated the mean score of (a) sexual behavior without a partner and (b) sexual behavior with a partner. There was a small, positive correlation between these two items (r = .16, p < .001).

Results and Discussion

Means, standard deviations, and intercorrelations between study variables are in Table 2. Our main hypothesis was that highly religious individuals would report lower levels of sexual congruence, even when controlling for objective sexual behavior. Although individuals who were more religious reported lower levels of objective sexual behavior (r = -.28, p < .001), they also reported lower levels of sexual congruence (r = .19, p < .001). We calculated the partial correlation between religious commitment and sexual congruence, controlling for total objective sexual behavior. Controlling for objective sexual behavior, there was a small, negative correlation between religious commitment and sexual congruence, r = -.12, p = .007, indicating that participants who were more religious reported less sexual congruence, even when actual sexual behavior was held constant.

As an exploratory analysis, we examined the extent to which our findings were similar for men and women. In regard to mean differences on our study variables, an independent samples t-test revealed that men reported higher levels of total objective sexual behavior and sexual behavior without a partner (both p's < .001). There were no significant gender differences on the other study variables. In regard to the relationships between variables, in general the pattern of relationships was similar for men and women. Two significant differences emerged, using a t-test for the difference between two independent correlations. First, the positive correlation between sexual congruence and total objective sexual behavior was larger for women (r = .34) than men (r = .14, p = .042). Second, the negative correlation between religious commitment and sexual behavior with a partner was larger for women (r = -.32) than men (r = -.11, p = .036). (See Table 3 for the intercorrelations separated by gender.)

In this first study, we assessed the extent to which sexual congruence was related to religious commitment, and found that more religious individuals reported less sexual congruence, even when actual sexual behavior was held constant. This relationship was small, however, so readers should be cautious when interpreting this finding. In the next study, we shifted our focus to explore possible consequences of sexual incongruence.

Study 2

In Study 1, we investigated the relationship between religiousness and sexual congruence. In Study 2, we shifted our focus to explore possible consequences of sexual incongruence. We focused on three primary areas of interest: self-forgiveness, spiritual struggle, and perceptions of problematic sexual behavior. As in Study 1, we controlled for objective level of sexual behavior. Thus, our primary hypothesis was that sexual incongruence would predict (a) less self-forgiveness and more spiritual struggle following behavior that went against one's sexual values, and (b) higher levels of perceived problematic sexual behavior, even when the actual level of sexual behavior was held constant.

Method

Participants and procedure. Participants were 191 college students. The mean age was 24.4 years (SD = 5.3). Participants were 34.4% male and 65.6% female. Participants were 34.2% White, 41.1% Black, 12.6% Asian, 7.4% Latino, 3.7% Multiracial, and 1.1% Other. Participants were 74.6% Christian, 7.4% Muslim, 1.6% Buddhist, 2.1% Hindu, 2.6% Atheist, 8.5% Agnostic, 2.6% None, and 0.5% Other.

Participants were recruited from undergraduate courses at a large university in the Southeastern United States. Participants completed the study online. First, as in the prior study, participants read an informed consent sheet that described the study and their rights as participants. Participants were told they would be asked to answer questions regarding a time in which they had violated their sexual values. Participants were told about procedures to ensure confidentiality. After giving consent, participants described an instance in the past month in which they had done something counter to their sexual values, and completed a series of questionnaires. After completing the questionnaires, participants were debriefed and given the contact information of the researcher should they have any questions or concerns about the study. Participants received a small amount of course credit or extra credit in exchange for completing the study.

Measures.

Sexual Values Scale (SVS). Participants completed the SVS, as described in Study 1. For the current sample, the Cronbach's alpha coefficient was .83.

Self-Forgiveness Scale (SFS). Self-forgiveness was measured with the feelings subscale of the Self-Forgiveness Scale (SFS; Wohl, DeShea, & Wahkinney, 2008). This subscale consists of 8 items that assess emotions associated with self-forgiveness regarding a specific offense (e.g., "As I consider what I did that was wrong, I feel compassionate toward myself"). Participants completed each item on a 7-point rating scale from 1 = not at all to 7 = completely. Scores on the SFS show evidence for internal consistency and construct validity (Wohl et al., 2008). For the current sample, the Cronbach's alpha coefficient was .81.

Hypersexual Behavior Inventory (HBI-19). Problematic sexual behavior was measured with the Hypersexual Behavior Inventory (HBI-19; Reid, Garos, & Carpenter, 2011). The HBI-19 consists of 19 items that assess symptoms associated with hypersexual behavior (e.g., "I engage in sexual activities I know I will later regret"). Participants completed each item on a 5-point rating scale from 1 = never to 5 = always. Scores on the HBI show evidence for internal consistency and construct validity (Reid et al., 2011; Reid et al., 2012). For the current sample, the Cronbach's alpha coefficient was .92.

Spiritual Struggle Scale (SSS). Spiritual struggle was measured with nine items created for the present study. Items reflected damage or hurt in one's relationship with God due to the behavior the participant did that was counter to his or her values (e.g., "I feel distant from God", "What I did hurt my sense of closeness with God"). Participants completed each item on a 5-point rating scale from 1 = strongly disagree to 5 = strongly agree. For the current sample, the Cronbach's alpha coefficient was .91.

Objective sexual behavior. We asked two questions to assess actual levels of sexual behavior. First, to assess sexual behavior without a partner, participants answered the following question "In the past month, how often have you engaged in sexual behavior without a partner (e.g., viewing pornography or masturbation)?" on a 5-point rating scale from 1 = never to 5 = more than 12. Second, to assess sexual behavior with a partner, participants answered the following question: "In the past month, how often have you engaged in sexual behavior with a partner?" on a 5-point rating scale from 1 = never to 5 = more than 12. To assess total sexual behavior, we calculated the mean score of (a) sexual behavior without a partner and (b) sexual behavior with a partner. There was a small, positive (but non-significant) correlation between these two items (r = .10, p = .254).

Results and Discussion

Means, standard deviations, and intercorrelations between study variables are in Table 4. Our primary hypothesis was that sexual congruence would be (a) positively related to self-forgiveness, (b) negatively related to spiritual struggle, and (c) negatively related to perceptions of problematic sexual behavior, even when actual sexual behavior was controlled for. Using a similar strategy as Study 1, we calculated partial correlations between the SVS and self-forgiveness, spiritual struggle, and perceived problematic sexual behavior, controlling for total objective sexual behavior. Consistent with our hypotheses, controlling for objective sexual behavior, sexual congruence was positively related to self-forgiveness (r = .18, p = .025), negatively related to spiritual struggle (r = -.34, p < .001), and negatively related to perceptions of problematic sexual behavior (r = -.22, p = .005). These findings indicate that participants who experienced sexual incongruence (a) were less likely to forgive themselves for doing something that was discrepant from their sexual values, (b) were more likely to experience struggles with God about doing something that was discrepant from their sexual values, and (c) were more likely to perceive themselves as struggling with problematic sexual behavior, even when actual sexual behavior was held constant.

As an exploratory analysis, we examined the extent to which our findings were similar for men and women. In regard to mean differences on our study variables, an independent samples t-test revealed that men reported higher levels of sexual behavior without a partner (p = .010). There were no significant gender differences on the other study variables. In regard to the relationships between variables, the relationships between congruence and the other study variables were similar for men and women. Two significant differences emerged, using a t-test for the difference between two independent correlations. First, the relationship between perceptions of problematic sexual behavior and total objective sexual behavior was greater for women (r = .28), than men (r = -.06, p = .026). Second, the relationship between perceptions of problematic sexual behavior and objective sexual behavior with a partner was positive for women (r = .19) but negative for men (r = -.18, p = .016). (See Table 5 for the intercorrelations separated by gender.)

In this second study, we focused on possible consequences of sexual incongruence. Specifically we found that participants who experienced sexual incongruence also tended to struggle with self-forgiveness, spiritual struggle, and view their sexual behavior as problematic, even when statistically controlling for objective sexual behavior.

General Discussion

The present set of studies investigated the role that religion plays in experiencing sexual congruence (or not). Individuals who reported being high in religious commitment also reported less sexual congruence, although this relationship was modest in size. Religious individuals also reported having less sex--both with and without a partner--so it is likely that sexual incongruence is due to religious individuals having a set of morals and values regarding their sexuality that is more difficult to maintain. This finding is consistent with prior theorizing by Kwee and Hoover (2008), which posited that religious young adults face increasingly high levels of social pressures in maintaining moral standards regarding sexuality and purity.

In addition to investigating the link between religiousness and sexual congruence, we also explored the possible consequences of struggling to maintain sexual congruence. Following a time in which participants engaged in a sexual behavior that was against their values, participants who had low levels of sexual congruence reported more difficulties forgiving themselves and higher levels of spiritual struggle. This finding is consistent with prior theory by Worthington (2013), who noted that not living up to one's standards can lead to difficulties with guilt, shame, unforgiveness, and one's relationship with God.

We also found that individuals who had low levels of sexual congruence were more likely to describe themselves as struggling with problematic sexual behavior, even when levels of objective sexual behavior (i.e., number of sexual engagements per month) were held constant. This finding is consistent with prior theory and research that has found that religious folks may be more likely to label unwanted sexual behavior as addiction, even when the actual pattern of behavior may not be characterized by addiction or even objectively problematic (Grubbs et al., 2015; Kwee et al., 2007). For example, Grubbs and colleagues (2015) noted that, although religious individuals were less likely to report engaging in certain sexual behaviors (i.e., viewing pornography), they were more likely to view their sexual behaviors as pathological and problematic. In this past work, these pathological interpretations were mediated by personal moral disapproval of pornography use. In essence then, past research has shown that religious individuals who (a) viewed pornography use as a moral failure but (b) still used pornography were more likely to report negative interpretations of their use (Grubbs et al., 2015). Such findings are consistent with our present work.

In regard to gender differences, for the most part, findings were consistent between men and women. The gender differences were as follows: First, men reported higher levels of sexual behavior without a partner than did women. This is consistent with previous research showing higher rates of masturbation in men compared with women (Peterson & Hyde, 2010). Second, the correlations between sexual congruence, religious commitment, and objective sexual behavior were stronger for women than men. This may indicate that sexual congruence and religious commitment have a stronger effect on women's sexual behavior than men's sexual behavior. Or it may suggest that women's sense of sexual congruence is more aligned with their actual behavior. Third, the correlation between perceptions of problematic sexual behavior and objective sexual behavior were different for men and women. For men, perceptions of problematic sexual behavior were positively correlated with sexual behavior without a partner, but negatively correlated with sexual behavior with a partner. For women, perceptions of problematic sexual behavior were positively correlated with both types of objective sexual behavior. This may indicate that for male college students, problematic sexual behavior may be more likely to show up in solitary activities such as masturbation and viewing pornography, whereas for female college students, problematic sexual behavior may include both solitary and partnered sexual activities.

Limitations and Areas for Future Research

There were several limitations of the present study. First, both studies were correlational in nature; thus, causal conclusions should not be made. Although the data are consistent with our theory and hypotheses (i.e., religious commitment leading to lower sexual congruence, lower sexual congruence leading to difficulties forgiving the self), there are other theoretical models that could also be applied. For example, perhaps individuals who consistently find it difficult to achieve sexual congruence eventually choose to become less religious over time. Future research could use longitudinal or experimental designs to further explicate the relationships among these variables and more closely approximate causal directionality. Second, all the data were self-report. Future research should supplement self-report measures with other-report and behavioral measures (Dorn, Hook, Davis, Van Tongeren, & Worthington, 2014). Third, the primary measure used in this study (the SVS) was created for the present study; thus, there is limited evidence for the reliability and validity of this measure. Finally, the sample from both these studies utilized undergraduate students, and the majority of participants in both studies were female. On one hand, this may be an especially important time to assess sexual congruence, given that young people may be a group that particularly struggles with sexual congruence. However, due to the somewhat homogenous sample, caution should be used before generalizing these findings to more broad samples of adults. Future research in this area should explore the extent to which the relationships found in the present study extend to other demographic groups.

Implications for Counseling

The findings from the present set of studies have several implications for counseling. First, young adults may experience a certain level of dissonance between their sexual values and sexual thoughts/feelings/behaviors, and this lack of sexual congruence may be exacerbated in religious college students. It should be noted that the size of the correlation between religiousness and sexual incongruence was small, so this struggle with sexual congruence may not apply to all religious clients. When counseling religious young adults, it may be important to assess a person's morals or values regarding the sexual part of their life, as well as how these morals or values line up with the individual's actual behavior. For individuals with a large amount of sexual incongruence, it may be helpful to work with the client to bring these two constructs into closer alignment. This may involve helping a client to change his or her behavior, but it may also involve working collaboratively with a client to assess and discuss the extent to which the morals and values regarding the sexual part of their life are realistic. Furthermore, although the present work only involved collegiate populations, past work (e.g., Grubbs et al., 2015) has found that discrepancies between sexual values and behaviors predicts pathological interpretations of behaviors, even among adults. As such, the present findings may also apply to more general counseling settings that include adults.

If clients do struggle to maintain sexual congruence, they may find it difficult to recover when they act in a way that is counter to their values. Clients in this position may need help to forgive themselves in a healthy way and/or repair their relationship with God. It should be noted that these relationships were found even when actual objective sexual behavior was held constant. Thus, the client's perception of their sexual behavior (and its discrepancy from their values) may be more important to the client than the counselor's perception of the magnitude of the particular sexual behavior.

Finally, a client who is experiencing sexual incongruence may be more likely to perceive his or her sexual behavior as problematic (or even addictive), even if the actual level of sexual behavior may not meet this threshold. One implication of this finding is that when assessing for problems regarding one's sexual behavior, it is important to assess both (a) the client's subjective feelings of distress regarding his or her sexual thoughts/feelings/behavior and (b) objective levels of sexual behavior (Hook, Hook, Davis, Worthington, & Penberthy, 2010). Assessing both will allow the counselor to work collaboratively with the client to determine whether the main work lies in changing problematic sexual behavior or perhaps working toward acceptance or moderating one's standards.

Conclusion

Strongly religious individuals may find it difficult to achieve sexual congruence. This struggle for sexual congruence may have negative consequences for one's health and well-being, especially when people act in ways counter to their values. We hope this article will facilitate more research in the area of sexual congruence, while additionally offering clinical utility for counselors working with clients who are struggling with their values and sexual behavior.

Joshua N. Hook

Jennifer E. Farrell

Marciana J. Ramos

University of North Texas

Don E. Davis

Sara Karaga

Georgia State University

Daryl R Van Tongeren

Hope College

Joshua Grubbs

Case Western Reserve University

Correspondence regarding this article should be addressed to Joshua N. Hook, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Psychology, University of North Texas, 1155 Union Circle, Denton, TX 76203; joshua.hook@unt.edu

References

Beck, R. (2011). Unclean: Meditations on purity, hospitality, and mortality. Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock Publishers.

Dorn, K., Hook, J. N., Davis, D. E., Van Tongeren, D. R., & Worthington, E. L., Jr. (2014). Behavioral measures of assessing forgiveness. Journal of Positive Psychology, 9, 75-80.

Festinger, L. (1957). A theory of cognitive dissonance. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.

Grubbs, J. B., Exline, J. J., Pargament, K. I., Hook, J. N., & Carlisle, R. D. (2015). Transgression as addiction: Religiosity and moral disapproval as predictors of perceived addiction to pornography. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 44, 125-136.

Hook, J. N., Hook, J. P., Davis, D. E., Worthington, E. L., Jr., & Penberthy, J. K. (2010). Measuring sexual addiction and compulsivity: A critical review of instruments. Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy, 36, 227-260.

Kwee, A. W., Dominguez, A. W., & Ferrell, D. (2007). Sexual addiction and Christian college men: Conceptual, assessment, and treatment challenges. Journal of Psychology and Christianity, 26, 3-13.

Kwee, A. W., & Hoover, D. C. (2008). Theologically-informed education about masturbation: A male sexual health perspective. Journal of Psychology and Theology, 36, 258-269.

Owen, J., Rhoades, G. K., Stanley, S. M., & Fincham, F. D. (2010). "Hooking up" among college students: Demographic and psychosocial correlates. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 39, 653-663.

Peterson, J. L., & Hyde, J. S. (2010). A meta-analytic review of research on gender differences in sexuality, 1993-2007. Psychological Bulletin, 136, 21-38.

Reid, R. C., Carpenter, B. N., Hook, J. N., Garos, S., Manning, J. C., Gilliland, R., Cooper, E. B., McKittrick, H., Davtian, M., & Fong, T. (2012). Report of findings in a DSM-5 field trial for hypersexual disorder. Journal of Sexual Medicine, 9, 2868-2877.

Reid, R. C., Garos, S., & Carpenter, B. N. (2011). Reliability, validity, and psychometric development of the Hypersexual Behavior Inventory in an outpatient sample of men. Sexual Addiction and Compulsivity, 18, 30-51.

Rosenbaum, J. E. (2009). Patient teenagers? A comparison of sexual behavior of virginity pledgers and matched nonpledgers. Pediatrics, 123, e110-e120.

Wohl, M. J. A., DeShea, L., & Wahkinney, R. L. (2008). Looking within: Measuring state self-forgiveness and its relationship to psychological well-being. Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science, 40, 1-10.

Worthington, E. L., Jr. (2013). Moving forward: Six steps to forgiving yourself and breaking free from the past. Colorado Springs, CO: Waterbrook Press.

Worthington, E. L., Jr., Wade, N. G., Hight, T. L., Ripley, J. S., McCullough, M. E., Berry, J. W., Schmitt, M. M., Berry, J. T., Bursley, K. H., & O'Connor, L. (2003). The Religious Commitment Inventory--10: Development, refinement, and validation of a brief scale for research and counseling. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 50, 84-96.

Authors

Joshua N. Hook (Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology, Virginia Commonwealth University) is an Assistant Professor of Counseling Psychology at the University of North Texas. His research interests include humility, religion/spirituality, forgiveness, and multicultural counseling.

Jennifer E. Farrell is a student in the Counseling Psychology Ph.D. program at the University of North Texas. Her research interests include: positive psychology, religion and spirituality, adult attachment style, and romantic relationships.

Marciana J. Ramos (doctoral candidate in Counseling Psychology, University of North Texas) is completing her Doctoral Internship in Professional Psychology at the Vanderbilt University-Department of Veteran's Affairs Internship Consortium. Her research interests include romantic relationship satisfaction, sexuality, couples therapy, and perception of romantic partners.

Don E. Davis (Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology, Virginia Commonwealth University) is an Assistant Professor in Counseling Psychology at Georgia State University. His interests include positive psychology, especially virtues related to the strengthening and repair of relationships such as humility, forgiveness, and gratitude. He is also interested in spirituality and its intersection with other identities in counseling.

Sara Karaga is a doctoral student in Counseling Psychology at Georgia State University. Her research interests are in positive psychology, especially resilience and post-traumatic growth.

Daryl R. Van Tongeren (Ph.D. in Social Psychology, Virginia Commonwealth University) is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Hope College. His research interests include meaning in life, religion, and virtues, such as humility and forgiveness, as well as positive psychology.

Joshua B. Grubbs (M.A. in Clinical Psychology, Case Western Reserve University) is a doctoral candidate at Case Western Reserve University and intern at the Louis Stokes Department of Veteran Affairs Medical Hospital in Cleveland, Ohio. His interests include human sexuality, self-regulation, entitlement and narcissism, and the psychology of religion and spirituality.
Table 1
Means, Standard Deviations, and Factor Loadings
for all Items of the SVS (Study 1)

Item                                    M (SD)      Factor Loading

1. Intrapersonal sexual behavior      3.34 (1.33)        .60
(i.e., sexual activities without a
partner)
2. Interpersonal sexual behavior      3.94 (1.15)        .81
(i.e., sexual activities with a
partner)
3. Sexual thoughts                    3.77 (1.17)        .94
4. Sexual feelings                    3.90 (1.14)        .93
5. Sexual fantasies                   3.67 (1.20)        .88
6. Sexual attractions                 3.95 (1.10)        .89
7. Sexual orientation                 4.17 (1.09)        .76

Table 2
Means, standard deviations, and intercorrelations
for study variables (Study 1).

Variable                M (SD)         1         2

1. SVS                3.82 (.96)       -         -
2. RCI-10             2.39 (1.16)   -.19 **      -
3. Total Sex          2.34 (.88)    .27 **    -.28 **
4. Sex w/o partner    2.24 (1.35)   .13 **    -.18 **
5. Sex w/ partner     2.44 (.94)    .32 **    -.27 **

Variable                3        4      5

1. SVS                  -        -      -
2. RCI-10               -        -      -
3. Total Sex            -        -      -
4. Sex w/o partner    .85 **     -      -
5. Sex w/ partner     .65 **   .16 **   -

Note. * p < .05 **p < .01. SVS = Sexual Values Scale;
RCI-10 = Religious Commitment Inventory-10.

Table 3
Intercorrelations for study variables separated
by gender (Study 1).

Variable                M (SD)        1       2

1. SVS                3.82 (.96)      -     -.22 *
2. RCI-10             2.39 (1.16)   -.10      -
3. Total Sex          2.34 (.88)     .14     -.17
4. Sex w/o partner    2.24 (1.35)    .03     -.14
5. Sex w/ partner     2.44 (.94)    .23 *    -.11

Variable                 3         4         5

1. SVS                .34 **    .20 **    .34 **
2. RCI-10             -.32 **   -.20 **   -.32 **
3. Total Sex             -      .83 **    .72 **
4. Sex w/o partner    .87 **       -      .21 **
5. Sex w/ partner     .63 **      .16        -

Note. * p < .05 ** p < .01. Correlations for men
are below the diagonal; correlations for women are
above the diagonal. SVS = Sexual Values Scale;
RCI-10 = Religious Commitment Inventory-10.

Table 4
Means, standard deviations, and intercorrelations
for study variables (Study 2).

Variable               M (SD)         1         2        3

1. SVS               3.66 (.94)       -         -        -
2. SFS               4.43 (1.28)   .20 **       -        -
.5. SSS              2.93 (1.11)   -.32 **   -.19 *      -

4. HBI-19            2.08 (.70)    -.16 *    -.25 **   .37 **
5. Total Sex         3.45 (1.07)    .13       .10      -.07
6. Sex w/o partner   3.24 (1.49)     .14      -.02      .11
7. Sex w/ partner    3.41 (1.40)     .08       15       -.11

Variable               4        5       6    7

1. SVS                 -        -       -    -
2. SFS                 -        -       -    -
.5. SSS                -        -       -    -
4. HBI-19              -        -       -    -
5. Total Sex         .19 *              -    -
6. Sex w/o partner   .26 **   .77 **    -    -
7. Sex w/ partner     .07     .78 **   .10   -

Note. * p< .05 ** p < .01. SVS = Sexual Values Scale;
SFS = Self-Forgiveness Scale; SSS = Spiritual Struggle
Scale; HBI-19 = Flypersexual Behavior Inventory-19.

Table 5
Intercorrelations for study variables separated by gender (Study 1).

Variable                 M (SD)        1        2         4

1. SVS                 3.66 (.94)      -       .16     -.33 **
2. SFS                 4.43 (1.28)   .28 *      -       -.18
4. SSS                 2.93 (111)    -.30 *    -.20       -
4. HBI-19              2.08 (.70)     -15     -.31 *   .46 **
5. Total Sex           3.35 (1.07)     19      .27*      .06
6. Sex w/o partner     3.24 (1.49)    .12      .15       .25
7. Sex w/ partner      3.41 (1.40)    .14      .19      -.10

Variable                 4        5        6        7

1. SVS                  -.16     .11      .18      .04
2. SFS                 -.21 *    .02      -.14     .14
4. SSS                 .31 **    -.16     -.04    -.14
4. HBI-19                -      .28 **   .29 **   .19 *
5. Total Sex            -.06      -      .79 **   .80 *
6. Sex w/o partner      .16     .71 **     -       .12
7. Sex w/ partner       -.18    .74 **    .02       -

Note. * p < .05 ** p < .01. Conelations for men are below
the diagonal; conelations for women are above the diagonal.
SVS = Sexual Values Scale; SFS = Self-Forgiveness Scale;
SSS = Spiritual Struggle Scale; F1BI-19 = Flypersexual
Behavior Inventory-19.
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Article Details
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Author:Hook, Joshua N.; Farrell, Jennifer E.; Ramos, Marciana J.; Davis, Don E.; Karaga, Sara; Van Tongeren
Publication:Journal of Psychology and Christianity
Article Type:Report
Date:Jun 22, 2015
Words:5595
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