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Women Health. 2002;36(4):69-84.

Relationship power, sexual decision making and condom use among women at risk for HIV/STDS.

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  • 1Center for the Study of Women in Society, University of Oregon, Eugene 97403-1201, USA.


This study examines the associations among relationship power, sexual decision-making dominance, and condom use within a sample of women at risk of HIV/STDs. Data from face-to-face interviews with 112 women were analyzed to (a) describe who women perceive as more powerful and who makes sexual decisions within their heterosexual relationships, (b) explore the association between relationship power and sexual decision-making dominance, and (c) examine the relationship of power and decision making regarding condom use to condom use behavior. Women were recruited from clinics and community locations in Atlanta, Los Angeles, Oklahoma City and Portland, OR. Participants were 18-25 years of age and were primarily Hispanic and African American. Over half (58.2%) reported that they share power with their partner, 25.5% said they have more power, and 16.4% reported that their partner has more power in their relationship. For the five domains of sexual decision-making examined, over half (50.5%-75.7%) of the women reported that they and their partners make decisions together. A higher percentage of women who perceived that they have more power or share power, as compared to those who perceived that their partners have more power, reported that "I/We" make decisions about birth control use, condom use, whether to have sex, and type of sexual activity. Relationship power was not associated with condom use. Condom use was, however, significantly higher among women who reported that they make decisions about using condoms alone or with their partner as compared to those who reported that their partner makes those decisions.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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