Gender moderates the relationship between impulsivity and sexual risk-taking in a cocaine-using psychiatric outpatient population

Pers Individ Dif. 2015 Mar 1;75:190-194. doi: 10.1016/j.paid.2014.11.035.

Abstract

Adults who abuse substances are at increased risk for contracting sexually transmitted infections, including HIV. Within this population, sexual risk behaviors have been associated with increased impulsivity. Studies in non-clinical populations showing gender-related differences in sexual decision-making and casual sexual partnering suggest impulsivity has a greater influence on men than women, but these differences have not been documented in substance-using patients. In a sample of 89 adults with recent cocaine use and receiving outpatient psychiatric treatment, we tested the hypothesis that gender moderates the effect of impulsivity on sexual risk-taking. Using logistic regression modeling, we tested the main and gender-moderated effects of task-related impulsivity on the probability of having a casual sexual partner and multiple sexual partners. Results confirmed a significant gender-by-impulsivity interaction; men who were more impulsive on a continuous performance task had significantly higher rates of sexual risk-taking than less impulsive men, but women's impulsivity was unrelated to these outcomes. Impulsive men were over three times as likely as less impulsive men to have a recent casual partner. Implications of these results and suggestions for future research are discussed.

Keywords: Cocaine; Gender; HIV; Impulsivity; Psychiatric; Risk.