Investigating the Socio-Cultural Factors Influencing the Sexual Knowledge, Attitudes and Behaviors of Greeks and Greek-Cypriots

Androula Christodoulou, Pace University

Abstract

Human sexuality is a multifaceted, vital part of being human; it is a complex mixture of biological responses, psychological meaning and societal/cultural overlays. Past research has identified culture as the key influence in defining the appropriate ways of behaving and thinking about sexuality. Understanding the delicate intricacies, including the knowledge, attitudes and behaviors, involved in sexual development, has allowed for the development and improvement of educational systems and programs targeting young people.^ The purpose of this study was to investigate the association between gender, ethnic identity, acculturation and religiosity, and sexual knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors among a specific cultural group: namely Greeks. This was accomplished by administering a survey instrument, The Sexual Knowledge, Attitude, and Behavior Test, to Greeks within the community (N=260) and in Introductory Psychology classes at local colleges. Participants comprised three different groups namely Greeks, Greek Migrants and Greek Immigrants. The first group (Greeks) was comprised of Greek-Cypriots born and raised, and still living, in Cyprus and who were or who are currently attending university/college in Cyprus, in addition to various members within the community. The second group (Greek Migrants) was comprised of Greek-Cypriot students born and raised in Cyprus and who were currently living in and/or attending university/college in the U.S.A. The third group (Greek Immigrants) included Greek-Cypriot students born and raised in the U.S.A. and who were or are currently attending university/college in the U.S.A. ^ Findings indicated that Greek Immigrants (GI) display greater overall sexual knowledge, than Greek Migrants (GM) and Greeks (G). Significant differences were found regarding attitudes towards pre-marital sex, sexual coercion, masturbation, homosexuality, pornography and abortion. Greeks demonstrated more liberal attitudes towards pre-marital sex whereas Greek Immigrants and Migrants demonstrated more liberal attitudes on all other subscales. Significant differences were also found for two endorsed behaviors with GI reporting higher frequency of masturbating alone and more G reporting talking to parents about sex. Regarding gender differences, males expressed more liberal attitudes about pre-marital sex, masturbation, pornography and abortion whereas their female counterparts expressed more liberal attitudes towards sexual coercion and homosexuality. Females also demonstrated greater sexual knowledge. Significant interactions were noted between gender, ethnicity and sexual attitudes with GI females expressing more liberal attitudes regarding homosexuality. Significant differences were found between GI and GM based on acculturation, with GI identifying greater with US Culture. A significant correlation was found for GI between US Cultural Identity and Masturbation, English Language Competence and Sexual Coercion, Masturbation and Pornography. GM demonstrated significant correlations between US Cultural Identity and Sexual Coercion, English Language Competence and Masturbation, Homosexuality and Pornography. Finally, significant interactions were found between religiosity and Greek Identity on the pre-marital sex, masturbation and pornography subscales.^ Results suggest that select socio-cultural variables such as gender, ethnic identity, acculturation and religiosity may influence the sexual knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors of the sampled groups. Results are discussed in terms of practical application of the findings and future research possibilities. ^

Subject Area

Psychology, Social|Psychology, Clinical

Recommended Citation

Androula Christodoulou, "Investigating the Socio-Cultural Factors Influencing the Sexual Knowledge, Attitudes and Behaviors of Greeks and Greek-Cypriots" (January 1, 2011). ETD Collection for Pace University. Paper AAI3491872.
http://digitalcommons.pace.edu/dissertations/AAI3491872

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