African American adults are disproportionately affected by HIV in the United States, underscoring the need for additional research on barriers to condom use. Guided by the theory of gender and power, this experimental study used a series of vignettes to test causal hypotheses regarding the influence of event-level alcohol use (present and absent), partner type (serious and casual), and relationship power (low and equal) on perceived difficulty implementing condom use. A total of 299 (151 women and 148 men) heterosexual African American adults indicated how “difficult” it would be to use a condom after reading 8 hypothetical sexual encounters, presented in a random order. A 2 × 2 × 2 × 2 repeated measures analysis of covariance with one between subjects factor (gender) and one covariate (condom use self-efficacy) was used to estimate the effects of these variables on an index of perceived difficulty. The women in the study reported significantly higher ratings of difficulty implementing condom use in vignettes characterized by low relationship power (p < .001) and presence of alcohol use (p < .001); the manipulated independent variables did not produce any main effects for men. Both men and women’s ratings of perceived difficulty decreased as condom use self-efficacy increased (p < .001). This is the first study to use an experimental methodology to test hypotheses about barriers to condom use among a community-based sample of African American adults. These data can be used to enhance existing HIV prevention interventions.
- African American
- Condom use
- Relationship power
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)