The Relationship Between Body Image Perceptions and Condom Use Outcomes in a Sample of South African Emerging Adults
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HIV continues to be a health priority in South Africa. Consistent condom use helps prevent HIV, yet less than half of South African emerging adults use condoms consistently. Cultural beliefs about illnesses (e.g., being thin is perceived to be a sign of HIV infection) suggest that body image perceptions may play a role in emerging adults’ condom use outcomes. We explored the relationships between body image perceptions (i.e., body dissatisfaction, body consciousness) and condom use outcomes (e.g., attitudes, negotiation efficacy, past use) in a sample of South African emerging adults. Participants (n = 379) recruited from university residences completed an anonymous survey. Participants’ mean age was 21.79 years, 54.6% were female, 96.1% identified as Black African, and 73.5% reported primarily speaking IsiZulu. For women, the relationship between body dissatisfaction and condom negotiation efficacy was mediated by body consciousness and condom use attitudes after controlling for BMI, relationship status, and mental health symptoms. Further, the relationship between body dissatisfaction and past condom use was mediated by body consciousness. These results were not significant for men. Findings from this study suggest that integrating messages about body image perceptions into HIV prevention efforts targeting South African emerging adult women may be warranted.
KeywordsBody image perceptions Condom use South Africa
This work was supported by the National Research Foundation of South Africa, under [grant number 99315]. The findings and conclusions in this report are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position of the NRF.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional ethics committee from the Durban University of Technology, Durban, South Africa. Ethical clearance was obtained prior to data collection (IREC 084/16).
Informed consent was obtained from all participants in the study.
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