Date of Award

Spring 2015

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Clinical Psychology

First Advisor

St. Aubin, Ed de

Second Advisor

Franzoi, Stephen

Third Advisor

Heck, Nicholas


Cultural sexual scripts provide individuals with a general understanding of how to respond in sexual situations given their environment. College students navigate the college culture keeping various elements of these sexual scripts in mind. Utilizing 1,007 undergraduates, the researcher investigated the current relevance of traditional sexual scripts and the relationships between various levels of cultural sexual scripts (i.e., the collective versus individual perceptions of them) and their relation to reported sexual engagement. Researchers also explored factors that predict these relationships. Results suggested current sexual scripts still largely reflect traditional ones, depending on the sexual behavior being assessed. Individual perceptions of current sexual scripts more closely aligned with actual behavior than collective scripts. Lastly, participant age, sex, and agreeableness generally predicted relationships between levels of cultural sexual scripts as well as between scripts and actual behavior. These findings suggest programming promoting sexual health on campuses should more specifically target one's personal perceptions of cultural expectations rather than merely attempting to shift cultural expectations. Future research should continue to explore cultural sexual scripts as they relate to sexual engagement as well as additional levels of sexual scripts (e.g., interpersonal) to better understand how students' sex lives interact with the current college culture.