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The postaids structure of students' attitudes to condoms: Age, sex and experience of use

journal contribution
posted on 1990-01-01, 00:00 authored by P Sheeran, Charles AbrahamCharles Abraham, D Abrams, R Spears, D Marks
A central aspect of health education campaigns designed to prevent the spread of HIV has been to encourage people to use condoms during sexual intercourse. Little research has, however, been carried out on attitudes towards condoms. The present study investigated the post-AIDS structure of students' attitudes to condoms and examined the association of subjects' age, sex, and experience of use with those attitudes. Subject were students attending a university and a polytechnic in Dundee, Scotland. Out of 600 questionnaires sent out 318 were returned after reminders, a response rate of 53%. Attitudes towards condoms were measured using 8 5-point Likert items. Principal component analysis with varimax rotation produced 3 orthogonal factors accounting for 61.0% of the variance. The factors were labelled Condom Effectiveness (26.3%), Condom Offensiveness (21.0%), and Condom Attractiveness (13.7%). Factor scores were computed by reversing the scoring of items with negative loadings and averaging across items within factors. Condoms were considered quite effective among the present sample (M=4.0, SD+0.6, range=1.5). Subjects also believed, however, that condoms were somewhat offensive (M=3.4, SD=0.6) and unattractive to use (M=2.7, SD=0.8). Women considered condoms more offensive than men (F 1273=11.06, p.001) and subjects who had previously used condoms during sex considered condoms more effective (F1273=4.85, p.05) and less offensive (F1273=12.18, p.001) than those who had never used them. Clearly these concerns about the condom on dimensions of effectiveness, offensiveness and attractiveness might be a barrier to intentions to change behavior and need to be addressed by health education campaigns. Such initiatives must, as Abrams, Abraham, Spears, and Marks (1990) and Abraham, Sheeran, Abrahams, and Spears (in press) point out, be targeted towards the concerns of particular groups such as those examined here. (full text)

History

Journal

Psychological Reports

Volume

66

Issue

2

Pagination

614 - ?

ISSN

0033-2941