Motivations for Sexual Behavior and Intentions to Use Condoms: Development of the Regulatory Focus in Sexuality Scale
Despite recurrent efforts to prevent sexually transmitted diseases through the use of condoms, HIV infections are still prevalent across Europe. Recent research framed by the regulatory focus theory has shown that prevention (vs. promotion)-focused individuals are more likely to adopt strategies to protect their health. Therefore, these individuals should also be more motivated to use condoms, because they are more likely to perceive greater health threats. In two cross-sectional preregistered studies (combined N = 520 Portuguese participants; databases available at https://doi.org/10.17605/osf.io/zzkc2), we developed the new Regulatory Focus in Sexuality scale (Study 1), and tested if the association between prevention focus and intentions to use condoms was mediated by the perception of health threat (Study 2). Results from Study 1 suggested that the scale is reliable and valid. Results from Study 2 showed, as expected, that a predominant focus on prevention was associated with more condom use intentions with casual and regular sexual partners, because individuals perceived greater threat to their health. Additional exploratory analyses further showed that this mediation occurred only for individuals without a romantic relationship and was independent of how salient the condom use norm was. In contrast, for romantically involved individuals, there was no evidence for the mediation by perceived health threat. Instead, a predominant focus on prevention was positively associated with condom use intentions with the regular partner, but only when the condom use norm was more salient. Taken together, these results emphasize the importance of examining individual motivations for safe sex practices.
KeywordsRegulatory Focus in Sexuality scale Condom use intentions Perceived health threat HIV prevention STI prevention Motivation
Part of this research was partially funded by Fundação Portuguesa para a Ciência e Tecnologia (FCT) with Grants awarded to CIS-IUL, ISCTE-IUL (UID/PSI/03125/2013), to DLR (SFRH/BPD/73528/2010), MP (IF/00402/2014) and to MVG (PTDC/MHC-PCN/5217/2014), and by a Marie Curie fellowship (FP7-PEOPLE-2013-CIG/631673) awarded to MVG.
- Albarracín, D., Gillette, J. C., Earl, A. N., Glasman, L. R., Durantini, M. R., & Ho, M.-H. (2005). A test of major assumptions about behavior change: A comprehensive look at the effects of passive and active HIV-prevention interventions since the beginning of the epidemic. Psychological Bulletin, 131, 856–897. https://doi.org/10.1037/0033-2909.131.6.856.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
- Arnett, J. (2015). Socialization in emerging adulthood: From the family to the wilder world, from socialization to self-socialization. In J. Grusec & P. Hastings (Eds.), Handbook of socialization: Theory and research (2nd ed., pp. 85–108). New York, NY: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
- Berkowitz, A. D. (2004). The social norms approach: Theory, research, and annotated bibliography. Trumansburg, NY: Author.Google Scholar
- Birenbaum, A., & Sagarin, E. (1976). Norms and human behavior. New York, NY: Praeger.Google Scholar
- Byrne, B. (2012). Structural equation modeling with Mplus: Basic concepts, applications, and programming. New York, NY: Routledge Academic.Google Scholar
- Cialdini, R. B., Kallgren, C. A., & Reno, R. R. (1991). A focus theory of normative conduct: A theoretical refinement and reeevaluation of the role of norms in human behavior. In M. P. Zanna (Ed.), Advances in experimental social psychology (Vol. 24, pp. 201–234). San Diego, CA: Academic Press. https://doi.org/10.1016/s0065-2601(08)60330-5.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- DGS. (2015). Atitudes e comportamentos da população portuguesa face ao VIH [Attitudes and behaviors of Portuguese individuals regarding HIV]. Lisboa, PT: DGS. Retrieved December 19, 2017 from http://www.pnvihsida.dgs.pt/estudos-e-estatisticas111111/estudos11/estudo-marktest-2015-pdf.aspx.
- ECDC. (2017). HIV/AIDS surveillance in Europe 2016. Stockholm, SE: ECDC. Retrieved December 19, 2017 from https://ecdc.europa.eu/sites/portal/files/documents/20171127-Annual_HIV_Report_Cover%2BInner.pdf.
- Gailliot, M., & Baumeister, R. (2007). Self-regulation and sexual restraint: Dispositionally and temporarily poor self-regulatory abilities contribute to failures at restraining sexual behavior. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 33, 173–186. https://doi.org/10.1177/0146167206293472.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Hayes, A. F. (2017). Introduction to mediation, moderation, and conditional process analysis (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
- Jöreskog, K., & Sörbom, D. (1984). LISREL 6: User’s guide. Mooresville, IN: Scientific Software International.Google Scholar
- Martins, H. (2017). Infeção VIH e SIDA: A situação em Portugal a 31 de dezembro de 2016 [HIV and AIDS infection: Data from Portugal at December 31, 2016]. Lisboa: Instituto Nacional de Saúde Doutor Ricardo Jorge. Retrieved December 19, 2017 from http://repositorio.insa.pt/bitstream/10400.18/4846/5/VIH_SIDA_2016.pdf.
- Miner, M. H., Peterson, J. L., Welles, S. L., Jacoby, S. M., & Rosser, B. R. S. (2009). How do social norms impact HIV sexual risk behavior in HIV-positive men who have sex with men? Multiple mediator effects. Journal of Health Psychology, 14, 761–770. https://doi.org/10.1177/1359105309338976.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
- Mogilski, J., Memering, S., Welling, L., & Shackelford, T. (2017). Monogamy versus consensual non-monogamy: Alternative approaches to pursuing a strategically pluralistic mating strategy. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 46, 407–417. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-015-0658-2.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Muthén, L., & Muthén, B. (2012). Mplus user’s guide (7th ed.). Los Angeles, CA: Muthén & Muthén.Google Scholar
- Penke, L., & Asendorpf, J. (2008). Beyond global sociosexual orientations: A more differentiated look at sociosexuality and its effects on courtship and romantic relationships. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 95, 1113–1135. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-3522.214.171.1243.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Rothman, A. J., & Updegraff, J. A. (2010). Specifying when and how gain-and loss-framed messages motivate healthy behavior: An integrated approach. In G. Keren (Ed.), Perspectives on framing (pp. 257–278). London, UK: Psychology Press.Google Scholar
- Rusbult, C., Martz, J., & Agnew, C. (1998). The Investment Model Scale: Measuring commitment level, satisfaction level, quality of alternatives, and investment size. Personal Relationships, 5, 357–387. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1475-6811.1998.tb00177.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar