Motivations for Sexual Behavior and Intentions to Use Condoms: Development of the Regulatory Focus in Sexuality Scale

Abstract

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.

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Acknowledgements

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.

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Correspondence to David L. Rodrigues.

Appendices

Appendix 1: Regulatory Focus in Sexuality (RFS): Medida Original (Português)

INSTRUÇÕES

Por favor leia as frases que se seguem e indique em que medida cada frase se adequa a si, indicando o número que melhor representa a sua reposta.

figurea

INSTRUÇÕES DE COTAÇÃO

Inverta a cotação dos itens 1, 4, e 7, e calcule o índice para a sub-escala de RFS_prevenção através da média destes itens.

Calcule o índice para a sub-escala RFS_promoção através da média dos itens 2, 3, 5, 6, 8 e 9.

Calcule o índice global de RFS pela subtração dos resultados de RFS_promoção aos de RFS_prevenção.

Syntax para SPSS

COMPUTE RFS_prevention = mean(8 - resp_1,8 - resp_4, 8 - resp_7).

COMPUTE RFS_promotion = mean(resp_2,resp_3,resp_5,resp_6,resp_8,resp_9).

COMPUTE RFS_index = RFS_prevention - RFS_promotion.

EXECUTE.

Appendix 2: Regulatory Focus in Sexuality (RFS): English Translation

Instructions

Please read each sentence and indicate to what extent each sentence is true to you by circling the number that best represents your answer.

figureb

Scoring Instructions

Reverse-code items 1, 4, and 7, and compute a mean score for RFS_prevention by averaging these items.

Compute a mean score for RFS_promotion by averaging items 2, 3, 5, 6, 8 and 9.

Compute an index of RFS by subtracting RFS_promotion scores from RFS_prevention scores.

Syntax for SPSS

COMPUTE RFS_prevention = mean(8 - resp_1,8 - resp_4, 8 - resp_7).

COMPUTE RFS_promotion = mean(resp_2,resp_3,resp_5,resp_6,resp_8,resp_9).

COMPUTE RFS_index = RFS_prevention - RFS_promotion.

EXECUTE.

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Rodrigues, D.L., Lopes, D., Pereira, M. et al. Motivations for Sexual Behavior and Intentions to Use Condoms: Development of the Regulatory Focus in Sexuality Scale. Arch Sex Behav 48, 557–575 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-018-1316-2

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Keywords

  • Regulatory Focus in Sexuality scale
  • Condom use intentions
  • Perceived health threat
  • HIV prevention
  • STI prevention
  • Motivation