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Psychol Addict Behav. 2019 Jun;33(4):382-391. doi: 10.1037/adb0000467. Epub 2019 May 9.

The relationship between social norms and sexual risk-reduction intentions and behavior among men who have sex with men: Findings from an eHealth intervention.

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Department of Communication.
Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.
Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism.
Department of Psychology.


Normative-based research has found that norms are significant predictors of safe sex behavioral intentions and behavior. Research shows that group identity moderates the relationship between norms and intentions/behavior. The present study used the theory of normative social behavior to evaluate whether identification with characters in an HIV-prevention interactive video moderated the relationship between sexual risk-taking norms and risk reduction intentions/behavior. Participants included 540 men between the ages 18 and 30 enrolled in a randomized controlled trial with a 3-month follow-up. We found support for the hypothesized interaction. At low levels of character identification, the negative relationship between sexual risk-taking norms and risk reduction intentions was strong. However, as character identification increased, the link between norms and intentions became weaker. The mean intentions score of high-risk norm participants was elevated to the level reported by low risk norm participants, demonstrating the favorable effect of character identification on narrative persuasion in entertainment-education. The utility of a social norms approach to health behavior change is discussed in the context of eHealth interventions. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved).

[Available on 2020-06-01]
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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