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Int J STD AIDS. 2009 Nov;20(11):761-4. doi: 10.1258/ijsa.2009.009238.

Emotional intimacy predicts condom use: findings in a group at high sexually transmitted disease risk.

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School of Public Health, University of Texas, Houston Health Science Center, PO Box 20036, Houston, TX 772250, USA.


Previous studies have reported an inverse relationship between condom use and emotional intimacy. The aim of this study was to determine the relationship between condom use and emotional intimacy. The study was a gonorrhoea case-comparison study with the samples being drawn from public health clinics (cases) and select bars/nightclubs (places) of Houston, TX (n = 215). Data were collected by questionnaires administered on a laptop computer. The majority of respondents were African-American (97.7%), women (69.3%) and had either high school or GED education (72.6%). Condom use with the last sexual partner was analysed along with intimacy with that partner assessed on a 3-point scale. Analysis showed that higher intimacy was related to greater condom use which was significant in men but not in women. In conclusion, these data were opposite to those of previous studies, which showed an inverse relationship between condom use and emotional intimacy. We hypothesize that in a high-risk environment, people exert more effort in protecting those they feel closer to. These data suggest a need to further explore the complex relationship between emotional intimacy and condom use.

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