Jane S T Woo

University of British Columbia - Vancouver, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

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Publications (11)29.14 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Research has examined the relationship between religiosity and sexuality but few studies have explored the mechanisms by which sexual variables are influenced by religiosity. The purpose of the present study was to investigate the role of sex guilt in the relationship between religiosity and sexual desire in women. Euro-Canadian (n = 178) and East Asian (n = 361) female university students completed a battery of questionnaires. Higher levels of religious fundamentalism, intrinsic religiosity and spirituality were associated with higher levels of sex guilt in both ethnic groups. Paranormal belief was not associated with sex guilt in either ethnic group. The Euro-Canadian women reported significantly higher levels of sexual desire and significantly less sex guilt than the East Asian women. Among the Euro-Canadian women, sex guilt mediated the relationships between spirituality and sexual desire, and fundamentalism and sexual desire; among the East Asian women, sex guilt mediated the relationships between spirituality and sexual desire, fundamentalism and sexual desire, and intrinsic religiosity and sexual desire. These findings suggest that sex guilt may be one mechanism by which religiosity affects sexual desire among women.
    Archives of Sexual Behavior 03/2012; · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Differences in sexual desire between individuals of East Asian and European descent are well-documented, with East Asian individuals reporting lower sexual desire. The mechanisms that underlie this disparity have received little empirical attention. Recent research has found that sex guilt, "a generalized expectancy for self-mediated punishment for violating or for anticipating violating standards of proper sexual conduct" (Mosher & Cross, 1971 , p. 27), mediates the relationship between culture and sexual desire in East Asian and Euro-Canadian women. The goal of this study was to explore this role of sex guilt in men. Male Euro-Canadian (n = 38) and East Asian (n = 45) university students completed online questionnaires. The East Asian men reported significantly lower sexual desire and significantly higher sex guilt. Sex guilt was a significant mediator of the relationship between ethnicity and sexual desire, as well as a significant mediator between mainstream acculturation and sexual desire. Among the East Asian men, mainstream acculturation was significantly and negatively correlated with sex guilt such that increasing mainstream acculturation was associated with less sex guilt. The diagnostic and clinical implications of the findings are discussed.
    The Journal of Sex Research 10/2011; 49(6):594-602. · 2.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Many studies have documented significant differences in sexual desire between individuals of European and Chinese descent, but few have examined the mechanisms that underlie these differences. A recent study of university students found that sex guilt is one mechanism by which culture influences sexual desire among Chinese and Euro-Canadian women. The goal of this study was to examine whether sex guilt also mediates the relationship between ethnicity and sexual desire in a sample that is more representative of women in the general population. Euro-Canadian (n = 78; mean age = 42.1 years) and Chinese (n = 87; mean age = 42.8 years) women were recruited from the community. Euro-Canadian women reported greater sexual desire and less sex guilt. In the entire sample, sex guilt mediated the relationship between ethnicity and sexual desire such that the Chinese women reported greater sex guilt, which, in turn, was associated with lower sexual desire. Among the Chinese women, sex guilt mediated the relationship between mainstream acculturation (degree of Westernization) and sexual desire such that more Westernized Chinese women reported less sex guilt, which, in turn, was associated with greater sexual desire. These results support recent findings and further suggest that sex guilt may be one mechanism by which ethnicity affects sexual desire.
    The Journal of Sex Research 02/2011; 49(2-3):290-8. · 2.53 Impact Factor
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    Morag Yule, Jane S T Woo, Lori A Brotto
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    ABSTRACT: Studies of ethnic differences in self-report measures of sexuality have shown East Asian women to be more sexually conservative and less sexually experienced than Caucasian women. There is also strong evidence supporting the notion of ethnic group differences in general measures of nonsexual psychophysiological arousal; however, there have been no previous studies exploring ethnicity and physiological sexual arousal. The objective of this study was to explore group differences in self-reported and physiological sexual arousal in Euro-Canadian and East Asian women living in Canada; we also aimed to explore the association between level of acculturation (both mainstream and heritage) and sexual arousal in East Asian women only. Seventy-five women (N=38 Euro-Canadian, N=37 East Asian) completed a battery of questionnaires and underwent psychophysiological sexual arousal testing using the vaginal photoplethysmograph. They also completed a self-report measure of subjective arousal before and after erotic stimulus exposure. All women completed the Female Sexual Function Index, Vancouver Index of Acculturation, and Sexual Beliefs and Information Questionnaire. Change in genital sexual arousal (vaginal pulse amplitude; VPA), and change in subjective sexual arousal were measured during exposure to erotic stimuli. The groups did not differ in the percent increase in VPA induced by erotic stimuli, nor was there a correlation between VPA and subjective sexual arousal. Among East Asian women alone, neither heritage nor mainstream acculturation was correlated with change in VPA. East Asian and Euro-Canadian women who show similar ratings of sexual behaviors and self-reported sexual arousal do not differ in physiological or subjective arousal induced by erotic stimuli in the laboratory.
    Journal of Sexual Medicine 09/2010; 7(9):3066-79. · 3.51 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A large body of literature demonstrates that East Asian women report lower sexual desire than Caucasian women. Although most studies have explained these differences by referring to general culture-linked differences in sexual conservatism, none have examined the potential role of specific constructs such as sex guilt. The goals of the current study were to examine the supposition that sexual conservatism mediates the relationship between culture and sexual desire, and to explore the potential mediating role of sex guilt in the link between culture and sexual desire. Caucasian (n = 105) and East Asian (n = 137) female university students completed questionnaires online. Caucasian women reported significantly higher levels of sexual desire, significantly lower levels of sexual conservatism, and significantly less sex guilt. In the entire sample, sexual conservatism and sex guilt separately mediated the relationship between ethnicity and sexual desire such that women with more sex guilt and those who were more sexually conservative reported lower sexual desire. Among the East Asian women, sex guilt, but not sexual conservatism, mediated the relationship between mainstream acculturation (degree of westernization) and sexual desire such that women with more sex guilt reported lower sexual desire. These findings suggest that sex guilt may be one mechanism by which ethnic groups differ in sexual desire.
    Archives of Sexual Behavior 03/2010; 40(2):385-94. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Papanicolaou (Pap) testing rates among Chinese women remain low compared with their Caucasian counterparts despite extensive efforts to raise awareness of the importance of regular screening. We examined three potential predictors of Pap testing behaviour in Chinese women: acculturation, cervical cancer screening belief accuracy, and intergenerational transmission. Caucasian (n = 78) and Chinese (n = 93) female university students and their mothers completed questionnaires concerning acculturation, Pap testing beliefs, and behaviours. Ethnic group comparisons revealed that Chinese daughters and mothers had lower Pap testing rates and less accurate beliefs regarding cervical cancer screening. Among women who had had at least one Pap test, there was no ethnic difference in the proportion of women who adhered to the recommended screening frequency. Among the Chinese women, lower heritage acculturation was correlated with higher cancer screening belief accuracy in both the daughters and their mothers. Maternal Pap testing behaviour was predicted by level of cancer screening belief accuracy, whereas daughters' Pap testing behaviour was predicted by previous experience of sexual intercourse and heritage acculturation. No intergenerational transmission of Pap testing beliefs or behaviours was found. The accuracy of cancer screening beliefs, level of acculturation and experience of sexual intercourse may be predictors of Pap testing behaviour in Chinese women. Contrary to our prediction, we found no support for intergenerational transmission, suggesting that Pap testing beliefs and behaviours of Chinese women are independent of the beliefs and behaviours of their mothers.
    Journal of obstetrics and gynaecology Canada: JOGC = Journal d'obstetrique et gynecologie du Canada: JOGC 03/2010; 32(3):254-62.
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    ABSTRACT: Chinese women have significantly lower rates of Papanicolaou (Pap) testing than Euro-Canadian women despite efforts to promote testing. Evidence suggests that Chinese women's reluctance to undergo Pap testing may be related to culture-linked discomfort with sexuality. The purpose of this study was to explore the role of sexuality in the interaction between acculturation and Pap testing. Euro-Canadian (n = 213) and Chinese (n = 260) female university students completed a battery of questionnaires. Questionnaires assessing sexual knowledge, sexual function, acculturation, and Pap testing frequency. Euro-Canadian women had significantly more accurate sexual knowledge, higher levels of sexual functioning, a broader repertoire of sexual activities, and higher Pap testing rates. Chinese women were more likely to cite embarrassment as a barrier to Pap testing. Heritage acculturation, but not mainstream acculturation, predicted Chinese women's Pap testing behavior. Mainstream acculturation was associated with more accurate sexual knowledge and greater sexual desire and satisfaction. The findings provide support for the hypothesis that low Pap testing rates in Chinese women may be associated with heritage acculturation, although the hypothesis that sexual function would predict Pap testing behavior was not supported.
    Health Psychology 09/2009; 28(5):598-604. · 3.95 Impact Factor
  • Jane S T Woo, Lori A Brotto, Morag A Yule
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    ABSTRACT: Evidence from studies of ethnic differences in sexual conservativeness and Papanicolaou (Pap) testing behaviors suggests that there may be culture-linked differences in rates of participation in physically invasive sexuality studies, resulting in volunteer bias. The effects of ethnicity and acculturation on participation in female psychophysiological sexual arousal research were investigated in a sample of Euro-Canadian (n = 50) and East Asian (n = 58) women. Participants completed a battery of questionnaires and were given either course credits or $10 for their participation. Participants were then informed about the opportunity to participate in a second phase of the study, which involved psychophysiological sexual arousal testing and which was completely optional. Contrary to expectations, the results showed that the East Asian women were more likely to participate in Phase 2 than the Euro-Canadian women. Among the East Asian women, greater heritage acculturation and lower mainstream acculturation predicted a lower likelihood of Phase 2 participation. The findings suggest the need to be wary of overgeneralizing female psychophysiological sexual arousal research results and may have implications for improving Pap testing behaviors in East Asian women.
    The Journal of Sex Research 06/2009; 47(4):345-54. · 2.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Lower rates of cervical cancer screening in Indian women have been consistently reported, and this has been attributed to cultural barriers. In Canada, the fastest-growing and largest immigrant groups are South Asian and East Asian. Since traditional values are largely retained in Indo-Canadian immigrants and their children, identifying reproductive health behaviours among these ethnic minority groups is important. Our goal was to compare reproductive health knowledge and behaviours of Indian women living in India and in Canada, East Asian women in Canada, and Euro-Canadian women. We also explored the level of acculturation in the two immigrant groups in order to understand the extent to which affiliation with Western culture may improve reproductive health knowledge. We recruited 663 women of reproductive age from India and from a Canadian university for assessment. These women completed the Health Beliefs Questionnaire, which measures reproductive health behaviours and knowledge, and the Vancouver Index of Acculturation, which measures the level of mainstream and heritage acculturation. Euro-Canadian women were most likely to have ever had a Papanicolaou (Pap) test and to perform breast self-examination (BSE). There was no difference between the two Indian groups in the proportion who had ever had a Pap test, but Indo-Canadian women were more likely to have performed BSE. All women showed knowledge of reproductive health, but the three Canadian groups consistently had more accurate knowledge than the Indian group. Among the two immigrant groups, the level of acculturation was associated with reproductive health knowledge. Canadian women show reproductive health behaviours and knowledge that is superior to Indian women. Moving to a western culture did not influence Indian women's Pap testing behaviour; however, the fact that the reproductive health knowledge of Indian women who moved to Canada was better than that of women in India suggests that there may be a knowledge-behaviour desynchrony in this group of women. Efforts targeted at ethnic minority groups that aim to improve reproductive health knowledge and behaviours are greatly needed.
    Journal of obstetrics and gynaecology Canada: JOGC = Journal d'obstetrique et gynecologie du Canada: JOGC 04/2008; 30(3):229-38.
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    ABSTRACT: Introduction.  Although age of first intercourse and the emotional aspects of that experience are often a target in assessment because they are thought to contribute to later sexual functioning, research to date on how sexual debut relates to adult sexual functioning has been limited and contradictory.Aim.  The goal of this study was to explore the association between age of first intercourse and adult sexual function in a sample of Euro-Canadian and Asian Canadian university students. In addition, culture-based comparisons of sexual complaints were made to clarify the role of culture in sexual response.Methods.  Euro-Canadian (N = 299) and Asian Canadian (N = 329) university students completed the Golombok-Rust Inventory of Sexual Satisfaction and the Vancouver Index of Acculturation.Main Outcome Measures.  Self-reported sexual problems and bidimensional acculturation.Results.  Ethnic group comparisons revealed that Asians reported more sexual complaints including sexual avoidance, dissatisfaction and non-sensuality. Among the women, Asians reported higher scores on the Vaginismus and Anorgasmia subscales whereas the ethnic groups did not differ on the male-specific measures of sexual complaints. In the overall sample, older age of first intercourse was associated with more sexual problems as an adult, including more sexual infrequency, sexual avoidance, and non-sensuality. Among the Asian Canadians, less identification with Western culture was predictive of more sexual complaints overall, more sexual noncommunication, more sexual avoidance, and more non-sensuality. For Asian women, acculturation interacted with age of first intercourse to predict Vaginismus scores.Conclusions.  Overall, these data replicate prior research that found that a university sample of individuals of Asian descent have higher rates of sexual problems and that this effect can be explained by acculturation. Earlier sexual debut was associated with fewer sexual complaints in adulthood. Woo JST, and Brotto LA. Age of first sexual intercourse and acculturation: Effects on adult sexual responding. J Sex Med 2008;5:571–582.
    Journal of Sexual Medicine 02/2008; 5(3):571 - 582. · 3.51 Impact Factor
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    Lori A Brotto, Jane S T Woo, Andrew G Ryder
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    ABSTRACT: Recent studies have demonstrated the importance of considering acculturation when investigating the sexuality of East Asian women in North America. Moreover, bidimensional assessment of both heritage and mainstream cultural affiliations provides significantly more information about sexual attitudes than simple unidimensional measures, such as length of residency in the Western culture. The goal of this study was to extend the findings in women to a sample of East Asian men. Self-report measures of sexual behaviors, sexual responses, and sexual satisfaction. Euro-Canadian (N = 124) and East Asian (N = 137) male university students privately completed a battery of questionnaires in exchange for course credit. Results. Group comparisons revealed East Asian men to have significantly lower liberal sexual attitudes and experiences, and a significantly lower proportion had engaged in sexual intercourse compared with the Euro-Canadian sample. In addition, the East Asian men had significantly higher Impotence and Avoidance subscale scores on the Golombok Rust Inventory of Sexual Satisfaction, a measure of sexual dysfunction. Focusing on East Asian men alone, mainstream acculturation, but not length of residency in Canada, was significantly related to sexual attitudes, experiences, and responses. Overall, these data replicate the findings in women and suggest that specific acculturation effects over and above length of residency should be included in the cultural assessment of men's sexual health.
    Journal of Sexual Medicine 02/2007; 4(1):72-82. · 3.51 Impact Factor