Although interventions based on cognitive theories can reduce rates of unsafe sexual behavior in adolescents, effect sizes remain small. This study was a qualitative investigation of inner-city adolescents' intentions to use condoms following participation in an intensive safer sex program. In-depth interviews with 26 adolescents were analyzed using standard qualitative methods. Although participants reported strong intentions to use condoms, they described many exceptions to their intention. Condom use intentions were also trumped by the presence of alternative, often conflicting intentions. Typical barriers to condom use played a minor role compared to exceptions and competing intentions. Boys and girls differed in the ways exception to intention and alternate intentions interfered with condom use; these reflected gender roles and norms, which are often neglected in HIV/STD prevention programs. The authors conclude that the barrier model to explain non-condom use is incomplete and that the concept of intention itself may need more conceptual work.
- Condom use
- Sexual behavior
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Sociology and Political Science