Black College Women's Interpersonal Communication in Response to a Sexual Health Intervention: A Mixed Methods Study

Health Commun. 2021 Feb;36(2):217-225. doi: 10.1080/10410236.2019.1673949. Epub 2019 Oct 8.


We investigated interpersonal communication generated from a successful sexual health intervention for Black college women attending a Historically Black College/University (HBCU). Guided by the integrative model of behavioral prediction and the theory of gender and power, the intervention combined point-of-access health messages with condom distribution via condom dispensers. Using a mixed-methods approach, we examined communication partners, content, mode, valence, and perceived impact. Data were gathered from surveys (N = 105) and interviews (n = 10) with young adult women at an HBCU campus, conducted three months after the intervention. The findings revealed that 43% of women engaged in interpersonal communication and 21% engaged in online interactions about the dispensers. Friends were the most common conversation partners, and the conversations were mainly about condoms and the dispensers themselves. In general, the discussions were positive, showing support for the dispensers. Regression analyses revealed positive, significant associations between interpersonal communication and two key outcomes: condom acceptability and condom intentions. Overall, this study adds to research linking health communication interventions to interpersonal communication and subsequent attitudes and beliefs. Health communication interventions should actively encourage young Black women to share health-promoting information within their social networks to extend both the reach and impact of those interventions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Black or African American
  • Condoms
  • Female
  • Health Communication*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Sexual Behavior
  • Sexual Health*
  • Sexual Partners
  • Universities
  • Young Adult