Devaluation of Safe Sex by Delay or Uncertainty: A Within-Subjects Study of Mechanisms Underlying Sexual Risk Behavior

Val Wongsomboon, Elias Robles-Sotelo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The value of safe sex may be discounted based on contextual factors associated with an opportunity for sex. College students in a within-subjects study selected hypothetical sexual partners from a set of pictures and classified them based on attractiveness and estimated chance of having an sexually transmitted infection (STI). In the Sexual Delay Discounting (SDD) task, participants rated their likelihood (0–100 %) of waiting for some period of time (e.g., 3 h) to have protected sex with their selected partners, when they could have immediate sex without protection. In the Sexual Probability Discounting (SPD) task, participants rated their likelihood of having protected sex if the opportunity was uncertain (e.g., 50 %), when they could have unprotected sex for sure (100 %). All participants included in the final analyses were aware of and had a positive attitude towards protection against STIs as they were likely to have immediate (or certain) protected sex. Results from 432 delay data in the SDD task and 488 probability data in the SPD task showed that participants’ preference for safe sex systematically decreased as the delay to and odds against having safe sex increased. However, this preference was altered by the participants’ perception of their partner’s attractiveness and STI risk.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalArchives of Sexual Behavior
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Jul 29 2016

Fingerprint

Safe Sex
Risk-Taking
Sexual Behavior
Uncertainty
Sexually Transmitted Diseases
Unsafe Sex
Sexual Partners
Sexual
Students

Keywords

  • Attractiveness
  • Delay discounting
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Probability discounting
  • Sexual risk behavior
  • STI

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

Cite this

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abstract = "The value of safe sex may be discounted based on contextual factors associated with an opportunity for sex. College students in a within-subjects study selected hypothetical sexual partners from a set of pictures and classified them based on attractiveness and estimated chance of having an sexually transmitted infection (STI). In the Sexual Delay Discounting (SDD) task, participants rated their likelihood (0–100 {\%}) of waiting for some period of time (e.g., 3 h) to have protected sex with their selected partners, when they could have immediate sex without protection. In the Sexual Probability Discounting (SPD) task, participants rated their likelihood of having protected sex if the opportunity was uncertain (e.g., 50 {\%}), when they could have unprotected sex for sure (100 {\%}). All participants included in the final analyses were aware of and had a positive attitude towards protection against STIs as they were likely to have immediate (or certain) protected sex. Results from 432 delay data in the SDD task and 488 probability data in the SPD task showed that participants’ preference for safe sex systematically decreased as the delay to and odds against having safe sex increased. However, this preference was altered by the participants’ perception of their partner’s attractiveness and STI risk.",
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