Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Studies

First Advisor

Ayse Ciftci

Committee Chair

Ayse Ciftci

Committee Member 1

Blake Allan

Committee Member 2

Eric Deemer

Committee Member 3

Monique Kulkarni

Committee Member 4

Carole Pistole

Committee Member 5

Yadav Aman


The lack of literature examining sexual experiences of South Asian women in dating relationships has important implications for the healthy development of long lasting romantic relationships. It is important to understand South Asian women’s relationship experiences in the context of power and sexism (interpersonal power framework; Pulerwitz, Gortmaker, & DeJong, 2000) and the role of specific sociopolitical factors (e.g., discrimination). Understanding South Asian women’s experiences of power in a sociopolitical context will help professionals when working with them to develop healthier sexual relationships through therapy outreach, and community programming. I used a correlational, quantitative study to examine the associations between sexual relationship power, sexism, cultural values conflict, discrimination, and social support among a sample (N = 161) of South Asian women who are in current or recent sexually involved premarital relationships. I hypothesized that sexism, cultural values conflict, and discrimination (i.e., recent, lifetime, appraised) will contribute uniquely and negatively to sexual relationship power. I also hypothesized that social support will: a) contribute uniquely and positively to sexual relationship power and b) also moderate the relationship between the other independent variables (i.e., cultural values conflict, discrimination, and social support) and sexual relationship power. The results revealed that cultural values conflict, recent discrimination, and social support uniquely contributed to sexual relationship power in the hypothesized directions. Sexism, lifetime discrimination, and appraised discrimination did not uniquely contribute to sexual relationship power. Additionally, social support did not moderate the relationship between sexism, cultural values conflict, and discrimination with sexual relationship power. Implications for practice, limitations, and future research directions are discussed.