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 September 30, 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 September 30, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

How 'Yes Means Yes' Defines Sexual Assault

How 'Yes Means Yes' Defines Sexual Assault

Newsy (Sep. 29, 2014) Aimed at reducing sexual assaults on college campuses, California has adopted a new law changing the standard of consent for sexual activity. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists May Have Found An Early Sign Of Pancreatic Cancer

Scientists May Have Found An Early Sign Of Pancreatic Cancer

Newsy (Sep. 29, 2014) Researchers looked at 1,500 blood samples and determined people who developed pancreatic cancer had more branched chain amino acids. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Colo. Doctors See Cluster of Enterovirus Cases

Colo. Doctors See Cluster of Enterovirus Cases

AP (Sep. 29, 2014) Doctors at the Children's Hospital of Colorado say they have treated over 4,000 children with serious respiratory illnesses since August. Nine of the patients have shown distinct neurological symptoms, including limb weakness. (Sept. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dr.'s Unsure of Cause of Fast-Spreading Virus

Dr.'s Unsure of Cause of Fast-Spreading Virus

AP (Sep. 29, 2014) Doctors at the Children's Hospital of Colorado say they have treated over 4,000 children with serious respiratory illnesses since August. Nine of the patients have shown distinct neurological symptoms, including limb weakness. (Sept. 29) Video provided by AP
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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