Sexual Assertiveness Scale (SAS) for women: development and validation

J Pers Soc Psychol. 1997 Oct;73(4):790-804. doi: 10.1037//0022-3514.73.4.790.


Four studies were conducted to develop and validate the Sexual Assertiveness Scale (SAS), a measure of sexual assertiveness in women that consists of factors measuring initiation, refusal, and pregnancy-sexually transmitted disease prevention assertiveness. A total of 1,613 women from both university and community populations were studied. Confirmatory factor analyses demonstrated that the 3 factors remained stable across samples of university and community women. A structural model was tested in 2 samples, indicating that sexual experience, anticipated negative partner response, and self-efficacy are consistent predictors of sexual assertiveness. Sexual assertiveness was found to be somewhat related to relationship satisfaction, power, and length. The community sample was retested after 6 months and 1 year to establish test-retest reliability. The SAS provides a reliable instrument for assessing and understanding women's sexual assertiveness.

PIP: The construct of sexual assertiveness has potential for codifying the strategies women use to achieve sexual autonomy. The Sexual Assertiveness Scale (SAS) was developed to measure initiation of wanted sexual experience, refusal of unwanted sexual experience, and prevention of pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) with a regular partner. Four independent studies were conducted to establish the stability of the factor structure of the SAS, evaluate the set of predictors of sexual assertiveness, further assess construct validity in a population at high risk of STDs, and test reliability through two follow-ups. A total of 1613 US women from university and community populations were included in the studies. Confirmatory factor analyses indicated that Initiation, Refusal, and Pregnancy/STD Prevention remained stable across samples. Consistent predictors of sexual assertiveness were sexual experience, anticipated negative partner response, a history of sexual victimization as an adolescent or adult, and self-efficacy. Relationship satisfaction, power, and length were moderately related to sexual assertiveness. Finally, test-retest reliability was confirmed. Use of the SAS could facilitate the design of programs to help women to become more able to negotiate condom use, for example.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Assertiveness*
  • Factor Analysis, Statistical
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Psychological Tests*
  • Psychometrics*
  • Regression Analysis
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sexual Behavior*
  • Women / psychology*