Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Major Professor

Todd M. Moore

Committee Members

Kristina Gordon, Cheryl Travis, Suzanne Kurth, Jennifer Katz


The present study describes the development and preliminary validation of the Sexual Motives Questionnaire (SMQ), a measure of motives for consensual sex. The measure is informed two dispositional theories, functional theory and self-construal theories, which suggest that individuals are motivated to engage in behavior due to approach/avoidance and independent/interdependent tendencies, respectively. Items were also selected to reflect sexual scripts and fear of sexual and physical violence. A total of 81 items was administered to 920 undergraduates. Exploratory factor analysis was conducted utilizing the 821 participants with complete data. The final sample was predominately heterosexual (96%) and Caucasian (83%) with a mean age of 19.27 (SD = 3.07). About half of participants were female. A 6 factor structure was obtained consisting of 2 approach factors (Relational and Pleasure) and 4 avoidance factors (Appease-partner, Prevent-harm, Reassure-self, and Reputation). Generally, the SMQ demonstrated convergent and discriminant validity consistent with expectations. Confirmatory factor analysis is needed to further validate the SMQ. However, preliminary data suggests that this measure has the potential to examine the relation between sexual motives and sexual health and functioning, and the impact of sexual victimization on these domains.

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