Date of Award


Publication Type

Doctoral Thesis

Degree Name





Psychology, Muslims, Religiosity, Sexual anxiety, Sexual guilt, Sexual health, Young adults


Senn, Charlene Y.




Sexual health is a key component of health and well-being, yet, to date, very little research has been done exploring the sexual health of non-majority individuals. This study addresses this lack by exploring the impact of background and attitudinal factors on the sexual guilt and sexual anxiety of young Muslim men and women in North America. Sexual guilt and anxiety have been found to have negative consequences on the sexual lives of individuals and to be related to conservative attitudes regarding sexuality. As Muslims' attitudes regarding sex and sexuality are often conservative, at times even restrictive, sexual guilt and sexual anxiety may be a problem faced by many Muslims in North America. Yet the religious restrictions on unsanctioned sexual activities may be enforced by sexual guilt and anxiety. Using path analysis, the current study investigated the religiosity, sexual attitudes, perceived parental sexual attitudes, belief in the sexual double standard, gender role attitudes, gender, and sexual experience and their relationship to sexual guilt and anxiety. Questionnaires were administered online and 403 young Muslim adults from across Canada and the United States participated. Two path models were tested proposing that religiosity, perceived parental sexual attitudes, and gender would predict sexual guilt and anxiety indirectly through the mediation of sexual attitudes, belief in the sexual double standard, and gender role attitudes. These models did not fit the data and were therefore re-specified and tested. The final, best fitting models found religiosity to both directly and indirectly influence sexual guilt and anxiety while sexual attitudes, belief in the sexual double standard, and gender role attitudes partially mediated this relationship. Gender role attitudes strongly determined participants' support for the sexual double standard, while gender was not a predictor of sexual guilt or anxiety. Perceived parental attitudes had no predictive value, possibly being redundant with religiosity. Finally, sexual experience directly and indirectly influenced sexual guilt and anxiety with sexual attitudes partially meditating this relationship. The path models revealed complex and interesting relationships between the variables.