This project was supported by a Canadian Institutes for Health Research and a Social Sciences and Humanities Council of Canada (SSHRC) grant awarded to the first author, and a SSHRC grant awarded to the second author. The authors acknowledge the contribution of Laura Melnyk Gribble, who assisted with data collection and data entry; as well as the assistance of Cindy Abramovitch, Janelle Jones, Eva Shiner, and Valerie Tanasescu with data collection.
Ambivalence and Unprotected Sex: Failure to Predict Sexual Activity and Decreased Condom Use†
Article first published online: 19 MAR 2008
© 2008 Copyright the Authors
Journal of Applied Social Psychology
Volume 38, Issue 4, pages 1092–1107, April 2008
How to Cite
MacDonald, T. K. and Hynie, M. (2008), Ambivalence and Unprotected Sex: Failure to Predict Sexual Activity and Decreased Condom Use. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 38: 1092–1107. doi: 10.1111/j.1559-1816.2008.00340.x
- Issue published online: 19 MAR 2008
- Article first published online: 19 MAR 2008
Using a prospective design, we assessed whether ambivalence toward sexual activity is associated with decreased condom use. Undergraduates predicted whether they would have intercourse and use condoms in the next week. A week later, they reported their sexual and contraceptive behavior. Among 65 individuals who had intercourse and planned to use condoms, ambivalence toward sexual activity was negatively associated with condom use. Moreover, whether intercourse was planned mediated the relationship between ambivalence and condom use, such that ambivalence was negatively associated with accuracy in planning sex, and unplanned sex was less likely to be protected. Individuals who are ambivalent about sex may intend to use condoms, but fail to do so because they cannot predict when they will have intercourse.