Theses Doctoral

Assertiveness during condom negotiation among high risk late adolescent/emerging adult couples: The role of relational uncertainty

Schmid, Amy Doretta

Many urban minority youth are at high risk for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). While consistent condom use remains the most effective intervention for preventing transmission of HIV and other STDs between sexual partners, low levels of assertive communication between romantic partners has been associated with inconsistent condom use. Guided by Uncertainty Management Theory, the current study hypothesized that high-risk youth with high relational uncertainty would demonstrate low levels of assertiveness during a laboratory-based condom negotiation task with their current romantic partner. It was also hypothesized that assertiveness would be positively correlated with condom use. A video-recall paradigm was used to assess youths' subjective interpretations of their condom negotiation communication with their romantic, opposite sex partner. Dyadic multilevel models revealed that hypotheses were not completely supported. While depressed men with high relational uncertainty showed low assertiveness, depressed women showed high assertiveness. Post-hoc analyses revealed a curvilinear relationship between couples' assertiveness and condom use, with the highest levels of condom use being found among moderately assertive couples. Unexpectedly, adolescents rated themselves and their partners in almost exactly the same way. Results suggest that adolescents' condom negation is a dynamic process that is influenced by both partners' perceptions and behavior. Results are interpreted at the individual, social-developmental, and contextual levels. Implications for interventions and future research are discussed.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
School Psychology
Thesis Advisors
Leonard, Noelle Regina
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
February 14, 2012