External Validity of Analogue Sexual Risk Laboratory Data

Jeffrey S. Simons, Stephen A. Maisto, Tibor P. Palfai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


This article presents data on the external validity of an alcohol administration study of sexual decisionmaking in men who have sex with men (MSM) ages 21–50. Men (N = 135) randomized to alcohol (blood alcohol concentration [BAC] =.075%) or water control conditions reported intentions to engage in condomless anal intercourse (CAI) in response to video vignettes. Following the experiment participants provided 6 weeks of experience sampling method (ESM) data assessing intoxication, sexual arousal, partner relationship, and sexual behavior. Laboratory CAI intentions were hypothesized to predict future CAI behavior, and associations were hypothesized to be conditional upon sexual arousal and intoxication contextual factors as well as laboratory beverage condition. The hypotheses were partially supported. CAI intentions were correlated with subject proportions of days engaging in CAI (r =.29). A multilevel analysis indicated, on average, CAI intention predicted increased probability of CAI versus anal intercourse with a condom (relative risk ratio [RRR] = 1.43). There was mixed evidence of CAI intentions effects being conditional upon laboratory condition as well as arousal and intoxication contextual factors. Graphs of conditional marginal effects identified regions of significance. Effects of CAI intention for men in the alcohol condition on the CAI versus No Sex contrast were significant when sexual arousal was elevated. CAI intentions for men in the water control condition predicted a higher probability of CAI versus anal intercourse with a condom when intoxication was moderately elevated and/or arousal moderately low.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)174-185
Number of pages12
JournalExperimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 30 2021


  • HIV
  • alcohol
  • ecological momentary assessment (EMA)
  • external validity
  • men who have sex with men (MSM)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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