Psychosocial correlates of HIV risk behavior among college students: A test of the AIDS risk reduction model (ARRM)

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


Higher Education

First Committee Member

Kent F. Burnett - Committee Chair


A preliminary analysis of the AIDS Risk Reduction Model (ARRM) among a sample of heterosexual, sexually active, unmarried college students was conducted to determine the psychosocial correlates of HIV risk behavior. Students were found to be sexually active, have multiple lifetime sex partners, use condoms inconsistently during vaginal intercourse, and combine alcohol and marijuana with sex. Students displayed high HIV/AIDS knowledge, modest levels of susceptibility and anxiety regarding the virus, were committed to using condoms and being monogamous in the future, were neutral about condoms, demonstrated moderate sexual self-efficacy, and low levels of sexual communication. Regression analyses conducted for condom use with the primary sex partners revealed that personal and partner's attitudes, commitment to using condoms and monogamy, self-efficacy, having used condoms, and having fewer lifetime partners were predictive of condom use. Condom use with the casual partner was predicted by the partner's condom attitudes and self-efficacy. Primary sex partners were predicted by being male, labeling personal behavior as risky, and having more lifetime partners. Casual sex partners were predicted by labeling personal behavior as risky, less commitment to monogamy, having less response efficacy, having more sexual communication, having used condoms, and using alcohol proximally to intercourse. Intervention programs should limit the time spent on information sessions and focus on becoming committed to safer sex through better communication skills and self-efficacy for condoms. The potential negative consequences of combining psychoactive substances (mainly alcohol) with sex, having sex with multiple partners, and the risk associated with serial monogamy should be emphasized. The study revealed that the female's attitude toward condoms was as predictive of condom use as the male's attitude suggesting that sexual stereotypes may be shifting and that college women can impact condom use. Because ethnicity was not predictive of risk behavior, the results suggest that attitudes about sex and sexual decision making develop similarly among college students once they arrive on campus. Overall, the ARRM demonstrated moderate utility for the mediating variables in assessing HIV risk among college students.


Psychology, Behavioral; Psychology, Social; Health Sciences, Public Health; Education, Health

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