Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy


Psychology, Clinical-Community

Date of Defense


Graduate Advisor

Zoe D. Peterson, PhD


Zoë D. Peterson, Ph.D.

Brian R. Vandenberg, Ph.D.

Matthew J. Taylor, Ph.D.

Susan Kashubeck-West, Ph.D.


Young urban African American women are at disproportionately high risk for HIV/STIs and current interventions focusing on individual factors (e.g., condom use self-efficacy) have not been sufficient to address this risk. Recent research suggests that an ecological approach that takes into account broader social and relationship factors may be more effective in meeting the needs of this population. The present study examined several relationship-level factors, including relationship power, avoidance motives for sex, and relationship commitment, and their potential interaction with the individual-level factor of condom use self-efficacy in predicting sexual risk-taking behaviors in a community sample of African American women aged 18-25 (N =132). The current study additionally considered the role of young women’s ambivalence around condom use, through descriptive analyses. Out of the three relationship variables, only relationship power was found to interact with condom use self-efficacy to predict sexual risk. In addition, although not specifically hypothesized, relationship commitment predicted condom use over and above the variance accounted for by condom use self-efficacy, suggesting that relationship commitment may be particularly important in determining condom use for this population. Further, participants expressed ambivalence about condom use during their last protected and unprotected sexual encounters, suggesting that women do not always want to use condoms. Discussion of the results highlights the importance of considering relationship factors and ambivalence toward condom use in sexual risk-taking among young urban African American women. Limitations and implications for prevention programming are considered.

OCLC Number


Included in

Psychology Commons