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The interplay between feelings and beliefs about condoms as predictors of their use

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Objective: Negative feelings about condoms are a key barrier to their use. Using the behavioural affective associations model, we examined the joint effects of affective associations and cognitive beliefs about condoms on condom use.

Design: In Study 1 (N = 97), students completed measures of their affective associations and cognitive beliefs about sex and condoms, sexual activity and condom use. In Study 2 (N = 171), a measure of behavioural intentions and condom selection task were added.

Main outcome measures: Condom use measured in Study 1 as (1) current condom use, and (2) willingness to use condoms; in Study 2 as: (1) behavioural intentions, (2) number of condoms selected.

Results: Affective associations with sex and condoms were behaviour-specific, were directly associated with the respective behaviour, and mediated the relations of cognitive beliefs to behaviour, ps < .05. In Study 2, affective associations were associated with behavioural intentions and the number of condoms selected, ps < .05; cognitive beliefs were indirectly associated with these outcomes through affective associations, indirect effects: ps < .05.

Conclusions: Affective associations are a behaviour-specific and proximal predictor of condom use, mediating the effect of cognitive beliefs, suggesting they may be a particularly viable intervention target.
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Keywords: condom use; emotions/affect; health decision-making

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Community Health and Health Behavior, University at Buffalo, SUNY, Buffalo, NY, USA 2: Department of Psychology, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, NE, USA

Publication date: February 1, 2018

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