Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Unsafe Sex: Do Feelings Matter?

Date:
April 1, 2007
Source:
Bradley Hasbro Children's Research Center
Summary:
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), adolescents and young adults currently account for fifty percent of new HIV infections on an annual basis. As a result, ongoing research and information on HIV prevention has become a high priority for this age group. Now a new study reveals that helping adolescents manage their emotions may be just as important as providing them with information on the practical side of safe sex in order to prevent HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), adolescents and young adults currently account for fifty percent of new HIV infections on an annual basis. As a result, ongoing research and information on HIV prevention has become a high priority for this age group. Now a new study reveals that helping adolescents manage their emotions may be just as important as providing them with information on the practical side of safe sex in order to prevent HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.

Researchers from the Bradley Hasbro Children’s Research Center and the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University studied 222 adolescents between the ages of 13 and 18 with psychiatric disorders and found that feelings do matter when it comes to making decisions about safe sex. Specifically, the findings suggest that lack of self-efficacy (the belief that one could effectively engage in a particular behavior) when confronted with the stress of using condoms is a powerful barrier to their use.

“We found that adolescents need help feeling more comfortable and less distressed about discussing and using condoms,” says lead author Celia Lescano, PhD, with the Bradley Hasbro Children’s Research Center and the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University.

Self-efficacy is akin to self-confidence and can be defined as a person’s beliefs about his or her own capabilities to produce effects or change in his or her life. In the context of this study, the authors found that teens with higher self-efficacy about condom use (i.e. they felt that they could effectively use condoms) were more likely to use them consistently even when feeling upset, bad about themselves, depressed or angry.

This study has wider implications for all teens engaging in sexual behavior because difficulty with distress during condom use is not confined to those who are clinically depressed, the authors say.

“As it turns out, managing the stresses associated with condom use is important. Adolescents can learn to decrease their anxiety about discussing and using condoms in order to use them safely and effectively,” explains Lescano.

Prior studies show that adolescents suffering from psychological distress may become overwhelmed in sexual situations because of relationship concerns (the fear of rejection), previous traumatic sexual experiences, or low self-esteem (little motivation to keep oneself healthy).

“Going forward, helping teens decrease distress and increase their effective skills is a critical component to HIV prevention strategies,” says Lescano.

While most HIV prevention interventions focus on acquiring practical behavioral skills like how to use a condom, the authors conclude that more needs to be done to protect oneself from HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.

The role of emotions in the engagement of health promoting behaviors, specifically condom use in this case should not be overlooked, the authors conclude.

“Using active strategies to deal with how well one manages the distress that arises in the face of a difficult situation such as asking one’s partner to use a condom should be a priority for HIV intervention programs,” Lescano says; “those who work with adolescents should be aware of the need to focus on the emotional aspects of engaging in health-promoting behaviors.”

The findings appear in the Journal of Prevention and Intervention in the Community, Vol. 33. No.1/2 2007.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Bradley Hasbro Children's Research Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Bradley Hasbro Children's Research Center. "Unsafe Sex: Do Feelings Matter?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 April 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/04/070401083930.htm>.
Bradley Hasbro Children's Research Center. (2007, April 1). Unsafe Sex: Do Feelings Matter?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/04/070401083930.htm
Bradley Hasbro Children's Research Center. "Unsafe Sex: Do Feelings Matter?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/04/070401083930.htm (accessed April 16, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Outbreak Now Linked To 121 Deaths

Ebola Outbreak Now Linked To 121 Deaths

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) The ebola virus outbreak in West Africa is now linked to 121 deaths. Health officials fear the virus will continue to spread in urban areas. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cognitive Function: Is It All Downhill From Age 24?

Cognitive Function: Is It All Downhill From Age 24?

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) A new study out of Canada says cognitive motor performance begins deteriorating around age 24. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Mt. Everest Helped Scientists Research Diabetes

How Mt. Everest Helped Scientists Research Diabetes

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) British researchers were able to use Mount Everest's low altitudes to study insulin resistance. They hope to find ways to treat diabetes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Carpenter's Injury Leads To Hundreds Of 3-D-Printed Hands

Carpenter's Injury Leads To Hundreds Of 3-D-Printed Hands

Newsy (Apr. 14, 2014) Richard van As lost all fingers on his right hand in a woodworking accident. Now, he's used the incident to create a prosthetic to help hundreds. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins