Journal of Gender, Culture and Health

, Volume 4, Issue 4, pp 307–313 | Cite as

Reconsidering Unique Invulnerability in the Context of Sexual Behavior

  • Angela F. Dew
  • Tracy B. Henley


Unique invulnerability has been defined as the perception that one is less vulnerable than the average person to negative events. This study examined positive outcomes of risky behaviors with respect to unique invulnerability, taking into consideration an individual's knowledge and experience of a given risk. If the phenomenon is truly one of unique invulnerability, then we would predict either no self–other differences for positive outcomes or even an enhanced belief that more desirable outcomes would happen to oneself. We found quite the opposite. Subjects estimated that they would be less likely than others to experiencebothpositive and negative outcomes. These findings invite not only a reconsideration of unique invulnerability, but also provide important new information about risk perception within a sexual context.

unique invulnerability risk perception risky behaviors safe sex sexual knowledge 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Angela F. Dew
    • 1
  • Tracy B. Henley
    • 2
  1. 1.Conexant SystemsNewport Beach
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyMississippi State UniversityMississippi State

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