The double-edged sword of providing information about the prevalence of safer sex
SourceJournal of Applied Social Psychology, 32, 4, (2002), pp. 684-699
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ BSI OGG
Journal of Applied Social Psychology
A group of 267 college students participated in an experiment to determine the effect of communicating different percentages (i.e., 12%, 36%, 64%, 88%) of the prevalence of safer sex in the student population on condom-use intention, A positive linear effect of prevalence information on condom-use intention was demonstrated, although the information that 64% engaged in safer sex seemed most effective in changing condom-use intention. This effect was independent of previous sexual behavior. Although prevalence information had a positive indirect effect on condom-use intention as a result of a change in perceived social norms, it had a negative indirect effect because of perceived risk, That is, information indicating a high prevalence of safer sex lowered the perceived risk of AIDS and, as a result, the intention to use condoms.
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