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J Consult Clin Psychol. 1996 Aug;64(4):819-28.

Safer sex: social and psychological predictors of behavioral maintenance and change among heterosexual women.

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Department of Psychology, Yale University, USA.


Women of diverse backgrounds from 4 community health clinics in southern Connecticut were involved in a longitudinal, prospective study (n = 189). Data from interviews 3 months apart were used for the current analyses. The purpose of this study was to develop predictive models of safer sexual behavior among heterosexual women. Specifically, there was an interest in identifying factors to predict the maintenance or initiation of safer behavior over time. Relationship involvement and attitudes toward condoms were important in both models. Beyond this, differences in explanatory models emerged, reflecting the importance of examining behavior maintenance and change independently. Depression, health locus of control, and outcome efficacy belief made significant contributions to understanding the maintenance of safer sexual behavior. HIV counseling and testing, partner risk, and optimism helped to explain the initiation of safer sexual behavior. Implications for future interventions are discussed.

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