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AIDS Educ Prev. 1997 Dec;9(6):551-63.

The efficacy of the health belief model for predicting condom usage and risky sexual practices in university students.

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  • 1Behavioral Medicine and Health, Psychology Program, Morehouse School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA 30303, USA.

Abstract

This investigation examined the ability of the health belief model (HBM) to predict condom usage and risky sexual practices in 122 white heterosexual college students (ages 17 to 33 years). The HBM did not significantly explain condom usage in the 58 men and 64 women surveyed; rather it partially explained the variance in sexual risk behaviors. Results were not consistent for men and women. The HBM components significantly explained 18% of the variance in multiple sexual partnerships in men and 22% of the variance in this behavior in women. The HBM constructs also explained 9% of the variance in the likelihood of women being intoxicated or high during sex and 18% of the variance in the number of sexual risk behaviors endorsed by women. These findings suggest that the HBM has differential and limited utility for predicting sexual practices in university students. Future research is needed to examine more comprehensive models of behavior change.

PIP:

The ability of the health belief model (HBM) to predict condom use and high-risk sexual behaviors was investigated in a survey conducted in 1992-93 of 122 US college students 17-35 years of age. The HBM conceptualizes preventive health behavior as a function of perceived severity of illness, perceived susceptibility to illness, perceived benefits for taking a health action, and perceived barriers to engaging in a health action. Students completed the Attitudes Toward Condom Usage Questionnaire, a Perceived AIDS Risk Scale, and a sociodemographic questionnaire. Among the 58 male students, the HBM components did not significantly explain any variance in condom use for vaginal or oral sex after controlling for education and cocaine use. The HBM explained 18% of the variance in men's multiple sexual partnerships in the 6 months preceding the survey. Perceived AIDS risk made a significant contribution to the relationship between HBM components and multiple sexual partnerships. The HBM components were more efficacious in predicting risk behaviors in the 64 female students. Among females, the HBM significantly explained 9% of the variance in the reported likelihood of being high on drugs or intoxicated during sex, 22% of the variance in multiple sexual partnerships, and 18% of that in total number of risk behaviors after controlling for demographic variables and recreational drug use. As with male students, the HBM was not able to predict condom use with oral or vaginal sex, however. Unless the HBM is expanded to include other behavior-specific cognitive factors (e.g., benefits and barriers associated with multiple sexual partnerships), its ability to explain more than a small proportion of the variance in behaviors that prevent AIDS will remain limited.

PMID:
9451482
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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