Research has identified stigma as a significant barrier to seeking out STI screenings. Such stigma for women typically includes perceptions of sexual promiscuity or lack of loyalty to one’s partner, which may ultimately lead women to be reluctant to receive an actual screening. The current study analyzed whether feminine honor endorsement, which is centered around maintaining a reputation of sexual chastity, might decrease women’s likelihood to seek out an STI screening. Using a sample of 228 college women in the Southern United States, the researchers assessed levels of feminine honor endorsement, likelihood to seek out an STI screening, STI screening stigma, and STI screening shame. Results indicate that feminine honor endorsement does decrease the likelihood to seek out STI screenings for young women, and that this association is mediated by sexual purity stigma and shame (Mediated Effect-ME = −.02, SE = .01, 95% CI [−.045, −.003], p < .05). These findings reveal a culturally specific barrier for women who are soon to be in an age group where STIs occur most frequently, perhaps making this cultural mindset particularly problematic for this population. Implications for programs to increase STI screening rates in higher-risk populations are discussed.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Clinical Psychology
- Applied Psychology
- Psychiatry and Mental health