Purpose: to investigate factors that motivate safe sex practice, searching for antecedents of the intention to use condom among the population of young students in Belo Horizonte.
Methods: a survey based on the Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB) has been carried out in a sample of 732 students, with ages from 18 to 19 years old. Using the multiple regression analysis on data obtained from an anonymous questionnaire, the importance of antecedents of the intention to use condom, such as: attitude, subjective norm, moral norm, resistance to temptation and perceived control, was investigated. Differences in behavior and attitudes between high and low social classes and between men and women were also assessed, through the t-test for means' comparison between independent samples.
Results: in the overall sample, the significant association of attitude and behavioral intention was not detected In the TPB, a higher percent of the intention variance was explained when only one of the partners was responsible for the decision of using the condom (intention-me), than when it was a joint decision of the couple (intention-us). There has been no significant difference between high and low social class groups, but differences have been found between men and women. Men have shown less resistance to the temptation of not using condom. In the evaluation of social pressure (subjective norm), medical doctors and mothers seem to have more influence on the intention to use condom, especially among women. The inclusion of the moral norm antecedent has increased the explained variance in the intention to use condom from 22 to 31%.
Conclusions: attitude differences between men, less resistant to the temptation of not using condom, and women, who highlight the importance of gynecologists and parents' influence in advising about safe sex, may guide campaigns to promote the regular use of condoms.