Increasing condom use: evaluation of a theory-based intervention to prevent sexually transmitted diseases in young women

Health Psychol. 1996 Sep;15(5):371-82. doi: 10.1037//0278-6133.15.5.371.


A multicomponent intervention to increase condom use in sexually active young women was designed, implemented, and evaluated in a randomized experiment. Participants were 198 unmarried female college students (mean age = 18.6 years) who received a 1-session condom promotion intervention or a control (stress management) intervention. The condom promotion intervention led to increased self-reported condom use up to 6 months following intervention as well as positive changes in perceived benefits of condom use, affective attitudes toward condom use and condom users, perceived acceptance of sexuality, control over the sexual encounter, perceived self-efficacy for condom use, and intentions to use condoms. Mediational analysis illustrated the mechanisms of the condom promotion intervention effects, linking psychological constructs affected by the intervention (perceived benefits, acceptance of sexuality, control over the sexual encounter, attitudes toward condoms, and self-efficacy for condom use) to condom use intentions.

PIP: At Arizona State University, in the US, 198 single female undergraduate students were randomly assigned to either a 45-minute multicomponent safer sex intervention or a 45-minute control (stress management) intervention to evaluate the multiconstruct model of condom use that focuses on the nature of young women's sexuality and the dynamics of their sexual encounters. The intervention included a video of depictions of women's sexuality in the popular media; presentation on feelings of guilt about having sex or planning for sex and on the decision whether, when, and how to have safer sex; discussion on STDs and their severity and prevalence; a video on purchasing condoms at a drug store; condom distribution; advice to carry condoms at all times; and discussion and role-playing regarding becoming comfortable discussing condoms with sexual partners. The intervention aimed to prevent sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), including AIDS, in young women. The safer sex intervention increased scores of intentions to use condoms at immediate post-test (3.21 vs. 4.29; p = 0.05). It also increased condom use at last intercourse at 6 weeks (68% vs. 43%) and at 6 months (68% vs. 49%) among women who had sexual intercourse during follow-up (p 0.01). Affective attitudes toward condom use and condom users and condom use self-efficacy mediated the increased intentions to use condoms (p 0.01). Perceived benefits of condom use mediated the program's effects on affective attitudes (p 0.01). Acceptance of sexuality and control of the sexual encounter partially mediated the effect of the program on condom use self-efficacy (p 0.01). These findings show that the design of future safer sex interventions should focus on proximal health threats (i.e., STDs) and on access to condoms.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Condoms / statistics & numerical data*
  • Factor Analysis, Statistical
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Health Education / methods*
  • Health Education / standards
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Health Promotion / methods*
  • Health Promotion / standards
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Models, Psychological
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Program Evaluation
  • Self-Assessment
  • Sexuality / psychology
  • Single Person / psychology*