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Arch Sex Behav. 2008 Apr;37(2):330-9. Epub 2007 Jul 26.

A brief decisional balance intervention increases motivation and behavior regarding condom use in high-risk heterosexual college men.

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Department of Psychology, Loyola Marymount University, 1 LMU Drive Suite 4700, Los Angeles, CA 90045, USA.


Male college students constitute one of a number of at-risk populations susceptible to receiving and transferring sexually transmitted infections. Interventions designed to increase condom use have produced mixed results, but increasing motivation to use condoms may decrease risky sexual behavior. The current study examined the decisional balance, a component of Motivational Interviewing (MI), as an intervention to promote condom use. A total of 41 college men at-risk for negative outcomes from both unsafe sex and drinking participated. They reported both infrequent condom use and heavy drinking. Immediately following a decisional balance on condom use, three separate measures of motivation to change condom use increased. Further, participants reported increases in actual condom use at a 30-day follow-up. Participants did not alter their drinking behavior or their motivation to decrease problematic alcohol use. The findings provide preliminary support for the efficacy of a brief decisional balance intervention to increase safer-sex motivation and behaviors, but similar designs with true control groups receiving assessment only and larger numbers of participants are required before they can be generalized to the greater population of college students. College health professionals might adopt similar brief motivational enhancement interventions with the decisional balance to promote safer sex among at-risk college students.

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