Luther senior selected for the Psi Chi Diversity Research Award

March 1, 2019

Luther College senior Tressa Forrest has received the Psi Chi Diversity Research Award from the Midwest Psychological Association for her paper titled, “A Test of the Factor Structure of the Multidimensional Sexuality Questionnaire.” She will present the paper at the annual meeting of the Midwest Psychological Association in Chicago on Thursday, April 11, where she will be recognized for her award.

The Midwest Psychological Association Conference’s mission is to share research across all areas of psychology. The annual meeting features invited addresses and talks from leading psychologists across the United States, papers and posters addressing a wide range of topics in current psychological science, workshops addressing the teaching of psychology, research methods, statistics, discussion groups, roundtables and social events where members can share ideas and interests.

Forrest, daughter of Audra and Doug Forrest of Eau Claire, Wisconsin, graduated from Memorial High School in 2015. She plans to graduate from Luther in 2019 with majors in biology and psychology.

For her research, Forrest conducted a confirmatory factor analysis, a statistical procedure used to test how well the measured variables represent the number of constructs, on the Multidimensional Sexuality Questionnaire to test the factor structure of the psychological measure. The original authors of the test proposed it would yield 12 different factors, but their analysis did not support this.

After sampling 400 subjects, Forrest also did not  find a factor structure of 12 factors. Her findings included a structure of only eight factors, including sexual anxiety and depression, sexual satisfaction, intrinsic sexual motivation, intrinsic sexual control, sexual thought, and sexual confidence.

The original authors of the study lacked many of the essential steps in the development of a multi-faceted psychological test, evident in the failure of the proposed factor structure and in the confirmatory factor analysis. Forrest concluded that the MSQ was not designed to measure 12 psychological factors of sexuality. Future use of the test in a clinical setting would require continued research and rewriting of the MSQ to actually test for the number of factors that are proposed.

Forrest’s senior paper adviser was David Bishop, Luther professor of psychology.

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