Increasing assertiveness skills to reduce HIV risk among women living with a severe and persistent mental illness

J Consult Clin Psychol. 1998 Aug;66(4):680-4. doi: 10.1037//0022-006x.66.4.680.


This study examined whether training women living with a severe mental illness to be assertive in sexual situations would decrease their risk for HIV infection. Twenty female outpatients were randomly assigned to either a 10-session assertiveness training intervention or a waiting-list control condition. All participants completed measures of HIV-related information, motivation, skills, and sexual risk behavior pre- and postintervention and at 2- and 4-month follow-ups. Compared with controls, women in the intervention group increased their assertiveness skill, HIV knowledge, and frequency of condom-protected intercourse. It is concluded that assertiveness training for women living with a severe mental illness can serve as 1 part of a comprehensive HIV-risk-reduction program for this vulnerable population.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Assertiveness*
  • Behavior Therapy / standards*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • HIV Infections / prevention & control*
  • Health Behavior
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders* / complications
  • Mental Disorders* / psychology
  • Mental Disorders* / therapy
  • Risk-Taking
  • Sexual Behavior
  • Treatment Outcome