Effects of affective arousal on risky sexual decision-making in US emerging adult college students

Alan Z. Sheinfil, Sarah E. Woolf-King

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Affect has been linked to risky sexual decision-making and may be particularly important for college students. Research has overlooked the role of affective arousal, rather focusing exclusively on affective valence. Other decision-making factors that may be impacted by affective states, such as sexual abdication (i.e. yielding sexual decision-making), have also been disregarded. Using a 2 × 2 randomized-factorial design, this experimental study investigated the effects of affective arousal on intentions to engage in condomless sex with heterosexual college students (N = 136; 50% women). Potential indirect effects of sexual abdication were also explored. Results demonstrated no main effect of affective arousal on intentions to engage in condomless sex, yet indicated an indirect effect through sexual abdication. This is the first experimental data about the relationship between affective arousal and sexual decision-making. Findings suggest affective causes of sexual risk warrant further investigation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalPsychology and Sexuality
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

Keywords

  • Affect
  • college students
  • condom use
  • sexual risk behaviour

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Social Psychology
  • Health(social science)
  • Applied Psychology

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