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 (bloodalcohol concentration [BAC] =.075%) or water control conditions reported intentions to engage incondomless anal intercourse (CAI) in response to video vignettes. Following the experiment participantsprovided 6 weeks of experience sampling method (ESM) data assessing intoxication, sexual arousal, partnerrelationship, and sexual behavior. Laboratory CAI intentions were hypothesized to predict future CAIbehavior, and associations were hypothesized to be conditional upon sexual arousal and intoxicationcontextual factors as well as laboratory beverage condition. The hypotheses were partially supported. CAIintentions were correlated with subject proportions of days engaging in CAI (r =.29). A multilevel analysisindicated, on average, CAI intention predicted increased probability of CAI versus anal intercourse with acondom (relative risk ratio [RRR] = 1.43). There was mixed evidence of CAI intentions effects beingconditional upon laboratory condition as well as arousal and intoxication contextual factors. Graphs ofconditional marginal effects identified regions of significance. Effects of CAI intention for men in thealcohol 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 analintercourse with a condom when intoxication was moderately elevated and/or arousal moderately low. Theresults support the external validity of alcohol administration experiments of sexual decision-making amongMSM and, reciprocally, provide support for the validity of ESM assessment of sexual behavior

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalExperimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology
StateAccepted/In press - 2021


  • Alcohol
  • Ecological momentary assessment (ema)
  • External validity
  • Hiv
  • Men who have sex with men (msm)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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