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Walker, Alicia. 2018. “Having your cake and eating it too: Factors impacting life satisfaction during outside partnerships concurrent to primary partnerships.” Sexuality & Culture. [forthcoming]
Abstract: Considering both the prevalence of infidelity and the preoccupation in the U.S. with achieving personal happiness, the question of whether participating in affairs increases perception of life satisfaction is a relevant one. This study utilized a sample population of married individuals specifically seeking extramarital sexual encounters (n=1070) and investigated those factors which influence the individual’s overall perception of life satisfaction before, during, and after their affairs. Findings indicate that while affairs do tend to make respondents happy, a number of factors influence perception of life satisfaction during an affair, including a belief that an outside partner is required to remain in a primary partnership, a desire to remain in the primary partnership, at least biweekly sexual events with the outside partner, a belief that the individual loves their outside partner, and seeking out the partnership due to sexual dissatisfaction within the primary partnership. There was also a gender effect. A surprising finding was that even after the outside partnership ends, respondents reported a higher life satisfaction rating than before the outside partnership.
Kuperberg, Arielle and Alicia Walker. 2018. “Heterosexual College Students Who Hook-Up with Same-Sex Partners.” Archives of Sexual Behavior. doi.org/10.1007/s10508-018-1194-7
Abstract: Individuals who identify as heterosexual but engage in same-sex sexual behavior fascinate both researchers and the media. We analyzed the Online College Social Life Survey dataset of over 24,000 undergraduate students to examine students whose last hookup was with a same-sex partner (N = 383 men and 312 women). The characteristics of a significant minority of these students (12% of men and 25% of women) who label their sexual orientation “heterosexual” differed from those who self-identify as “homosexual,” “bisexual,” or “uncertain.” Differences among those who identify as heterosexual include more conservative attitudes, less prior homosexual and more prior heterosexual sexual experience, features of the hookups, and sentiments about the encounter after the fact. Latent class analysis revealed six distinctive “types” of heterosexually identified students whose last hookup was with a same-sex partner. Three types, comprising 60% of students, could be classified as mostly private sexual experimentation among those with little prior same-sex experience, including some who did not enjoy the encounter; the other two types in this group enjoyed the encounter, but differed on drunkenness and desire for a future relationship with their partner. Roughly, 12% could be classified as conforming to a “performative bisexuality” script of women publicly engaging in same-sex hookups at college parties, and the remaining 28% had strong religious practices and/or beliefs that may preclude a non-heterosexual identity, including 7% who exhibited “internalized heterosexism.” Results indicate several distinctive motivations for a heterosexual identity among those who hooked up with same-sex partners; research focusing on selective “types” excludes many exhibiting this discordance.
Walker, Alicia. "The Secret Life of the Cheating Wife": Power, Pragmatism, and Pleasure in Women's Infidelity. 2017. Lexington Books: Lantham, MD.
Abstract: Using a sample collected from Ashley Madison, this book is the result of a yearlong inquiry into women’s extramarital experiences. Ultimately, these women reject the binary proposition of marriage that assumes that either we work on our marriages and remain monogamous within them, or we break up the relationship and take up other relationships. These women conceive of an alternate solution to a marriage that is not wholly working, where their own needs are ignored, unmet, and not prioritized. Thus, the women in this study are engaging in secret defiance of the expectations of marriage and primary partnerships. This book gives voice to women’s experiences and perceptions regarding their participation in infidelity, and glimpses into the interworkings of our most intimate relationships, and the ways women negotiate marriages that fall short of their expectations.
Bush, Amy, Alicia Walker, and Brea Perry. "The Framily Plan": Examining the Characteristics and Role of Ties Described as Both 'Friend' and 'Family' in Personal Networks. 2017. Network Science 5(1): 92-107.
Abstract: Despite the growing potential for multiplexity in our complex social world, social network methodology often does not adequately capture this phenomenon. Most commonly in research on egocentric social networks, when respondent designate a tie as both family member and friend, the tendency is to default to “family” prior to aggregation for analysis, potentially ignoring important and meaningful variation. As a result, relatively little is known about multiplexity in personal social networks, and particularly about individuals who are simultaneously kin and friends. To address this gap, we assess the rate of occurrence of kinship/friendship multiplexity, and examine characteristics of alters nominated as friends and kin in comparison to those with unidimensional functionality. We find that this kind of multiplexity is fairly common–comprising about one-fifth of kinship ties and one-fourth of friendship ties. Moreover, cross–listed alters are significantly different from those characterized in one function, serving in greater capacity in terms of provision of support, frequency of contact, closeness, and as resources for discussion of important matters. Our findings underscore the critical need to appropriately classify multiplex kinship/friendship ties to avoid making incorrect inferences about support processes and their effects on outcomes across different relationship types.
Walker, Alicia, Amy Bush, Ken Sanchagrin, and Jonathon Holland. "'We've got the meeting like this': A Pilot Study comparing academic performance shifting-membership cooperative groups versus stable-membership cooperative groups in an introductory-level lab." 2017. College Teaching 65(1): 9-16.
Abstract: This study examined possible ways to increase student engagement in small sections of a large, introductory-level, required university course. Research shows that cooperative group learning boosts achievement through fostering better interpersonal relationships between students. Cooperative group learning is an evidence-based instructional practice engaging students in active learning. The present study investigated whether cooperative groups with sustained-membership functioned more effectively for boosting performance than shifting-membership cooperative groups. Findings indicated that the amount of class time spent in groups influenced the impact of shifting or sustained-membership. A significant difference in performance was found for sustained-group students when group activities were used the majority of the time during recitation.
Walker, Alicia, and Bret Cormier. "Leveling The Playing Field: The Normed-Opportunity Paradigm." 2014. American Secondary Education 43(1): 33-51.
Abstract: We examined the practices, beliefs, and attitudes of secondary teachers in order to identify factors that led to success for non-dominant-group students. We found a unique paradigm among educators whose students of color and/or poverty showed no achievement gap. Rather than coming from a deficit perspective or one expecting assimilation, those teachers displayed an outlook and approach that positioned non-dominant group students as different rather than deficient. In fact, coming from this perspective, the educators recognized that while non-dominant students may be lacking in some typical student behaviors and skills, they bring other skills with them which can be harnessed and transferred into academic success. We call this unique paradigm the Normed-Opportunity Paradigm. The practices that the educators in this paradigm used to help non-dominant students to succeed included: sharing student culture; allowing students to lead; discerning hidden talents; and refraining from moral judgments.
Walker, Alicia. "Revenge of the Beta Boys: Opting Out as an Exercise in Masculinity." 2014. McGill Journal of Education 49(1): 183-2000.
Abstract: This study examines the factors influencing underachieving boys on a high-performing high school campus. Unlike the “laddishness” often seen in studies of underachievement among boys, the boys in this study were quiet, unobtrusive, and compliant within the classroom. Using qualitative interviews and observations conducted over a one-year period, the study showed the formation of student identities in response to the hegemonic masculinity of the “golden boy” portrayed by the popular boys on campus, which included high academic performance. The boys constructed an alternate masculinity, the Beta Boy, designed to demonstrate superior intellect through eschewing in-class work and homework but performing particularly well on tests.
Walker, Alicia. "Our Little Secret": How Publicly Heterosexual Women Make Meaning From Their "Undercover" Same-sex Sexual Experiences." 2014. Journal of Bisexuality 14(2): 194-208.
Abstract: The lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender community is well aware of the phenomenon of ‘straight girls’ seeking out and engaging in intimate sexual relationships with women. However, there is a dearth of research on women who openly identify themselves as heterosexual, and even participate in relationships with men, yet seek out secret relationships with other women. This pilot study examined the experiences and meaning-making of women who are ‘undercover’ in this way and the factors that shape their construction of their sexual identity and compel them to live a secret, compartmentalized life. Four major themes emerged: a desire to remain married, the belief that ‘girls don't count’ as extramarital partners, shame, and ‘on and off the wagon.’ For the women in this study, the decision to act on their desire for sexual contact with another woman was fraught with internal conflict, shame, and guilt. The data reveal that the constraints around one's sexuality are not nearly as powerful culturally as the constraints around one's public image.
Walker, Alicia. "I'm not a lesbian; I'm just a freak": A Pilot Study of the experiences of Women in assumed-monogamous other-sex unions seeking secret same-sex encounters online, their negotiation of sexual desire, and meaning-making of sexual identity. 2014. Sexuality & Culture 18(4): 911-935
Abstract: This pilot study looked to examine the experiences of women who are “undercover,” the meaning-making of their sexual identity, how they came to negotiate their same-sex sexual desires alongside their primary other-sex unions, and their experience of a secret, compartmentalized life. The study sought to understand their experiences as well as their meaning-making in the course of maintaining a public heterosexual persona while balancing their secret desire for sex with women. The thirty-four women in this study report lifelong incidence of attraction to and encounters with other women as well as men. They are not transitioning toward a lesbian identity nor experiencing fluidity; rather, clandestine encounters are part of an ongoing means to negotiate their opposite-sex marriages. For them, our culture’s limited notions of sexual identity are less than useful. It was important to their self-concept that their sexuality be understood in terms of its intensity and their desire for frequency and diversity of acts. They defined themselves on their own terms and by their sexual personalities and inclination toward what they considered “hypersexuality” or “freakiness.” Despite conventional ideas that women are emotionally driven in their extra-relational affairs and need to “fall in love” to participate in extra-relational sexual activity, all of the women were clear in their desire to limit their association with their same-sex partners to sexual encounters only.