• Lucia F. O'Sullivan, Department of Family and Social Medicine, Albert Einstein College of Medicine; Heino F. L. Meyer-Bahlburg, Department of Psychiatry, New York State Psychiatric Institute; Ian W. McKeague, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University.

  • This research was supported by NIMH Grant K01-MH01689 (Principal Investigator: Lucia F. O'Sullivan) while the first author was a faculty member at Columbia University and NIMH P50-MH43520 (HIV Center for Clinical and Behavioral Studies; Center Principal Investigator: Anke A. Ehrhardt).

  • We thank the participants in the study and Giovanna Rodriguez, Cheryl Dudley, Kimberly Hearn, Yvonne Varela, Keisha Miller, Beth Farber, Jennifer Kornreich, Johanna Landinez, Leah D'Agostino, Megan McCrudden, and Anne Uba for their help with data collection. We also thank the members of the Interdisciplinary Research Methods Core at the HIV Center for their consultation on the development of the methods.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Lucia F. O'Sullivan, Ph.D., Department of Family and Social Medicine, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, 1300 Morris Park Avenue, Mazer 100, New York, NY 10461. E-mail:


The Sexual Self-Concept Inventory (SSCI) was developed to assess sexual self-concept in an ethnically diverse sample of urban early adolescent girls. Three scales (Sexual Arousability, Sexual Agency, and Negative Sexual Affect) were shown to be distinct and reliable dimensions of girls' sexual self-concepts. Validity was established through comparisons with established instruments. Sexual Arousability and Sexual Agency were associated with positive sexual self- esteem, positive future orientation toward sex, intentions to engage in intercourse, and lower levels of sexual experience. Negative Sexual Affect was associated with stronger abstinence attitudes and lack of intentions or orientation toward sex in the near future. The results indicate that the SSCI constitutes a valid means of assessing early adolescent girls' views of their sexuality and sexual behavior and may be of use in studies of health and risk-related decision making.