The Role of Interpersonal Communication in Reducing Structural Disparities and Psychosocial Deficiencies: Experience From the Malawi BRIDGE Project


Corresponding author: Rajiv N. Rimal; e-mail:


Conceptualizing disparities as comprising both psychosocial and structural components, we hypothesized that interpersonal communication would moderate the effects of disparities on knowledge and HIV prevention behaviors. Using data (N = 3,843) from the Malawi BRIDGE Project, we examined the effects of project exposure on knowledge, HIV testing, condom use, and condom use intentions. Controlling for known predictors, exposure to the intervention was associated with knowledge and HIV testing but not with condom use or intention. The effect of campaign exposure on knowledge and HIV testing was heightened by interpersonal discussion. Interpersonal communication also heightened the effect of community norms on condom use, suggesting that interventions can garner greater effects and reduce disparities if they promote interpersonal discussion.