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Identifying psychosocial variables that predict safer sex intentions in adolescents and young adults

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Young people are especially vulnerable to sexually transmitted infections (STIs). The triad of deliberate and effective safer sex behavior encompasses condom use, combined with additional information about a partner's sexual health, and the kind of sex acts usually performed. To identify psychosocial predictors of young people's intentions to have safer sex, as related to this triad, we conducted an online study with 211 sexually active participants aged between 18 and 24 years. Predictors [i.e., perceived behavioral control (PBC), subjective norms, and intention] taken from Fishbein and Ajzen's Reasoned Action Approach (RAA), were combined with more distal variables (e.g., behavioral inhibition, sensation seeking, parental monitoring, and knowledge about STIs). Beyond the highly predictive power of RAA variables, additional variance was explained by the number of instances of unprotected sexual intercourse (SI) during the last 12 months and reasons for using barrier protection during first SI. In particular, past condom non-use behavior moderated PBC related to intended condom use. Further, various distal variables showed significant univariate associations with intentions related to the three behaviors of interest. It may, therefore, be helpful to include measures of past behavior as well as certain additional distal variables in future safer sex programs designed to promote health-sustaining sexual behavior.

    Research areas

  • public health, adolescence, sexual risk behavior, adolescent behavior, RAA, sexuality, safer sex motivation, HIV/AIDS, CONDOM USE, SENSATION-SEEKING, PLANNED BEHAVIOR, SELF-EFFICACY, RISK-TAKING, COLLEGE-STUDENTS, HIV TRANSMISSION, DECISION-MAKING, PERSPECTIVE, GENDER


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Original languageEnglish
Article number74
Number of pages10
JournalFrontiers in Public Health
Publication statusPublished - 20 Apr 2016