Comparative analysis between condom use clusters and risk behaviours among Portuguese university students

Análise comparativa entre clusters de uso de preservativo e comportamentos de risco em estudantes universitários portugueses

Alexandra Gomes Cristina Nunes About the authors

The research on condom use has been focused on high-risk individuals, paying less attention to those who have moderate risk or safe sexual conducts. In order to design accurate interventions, potential differences among the condom use behavior groups must be considered. The goal was to assess possible differences in individuals presenting different types of risk behavior. 140 heterosexual university students answered a self-reported questionnaire about their sexual history, condom use habits, sexual self-esteem, sexual satisfaction, sexual control, attitudes towards condoms, self-efficacy to condom use, and emotions and feelings during sexual intercourse. A cluster analysis was conducted using the results about condom use and risk behaviors. Three groups with different risk levels emerged, presenting differences over sexual self-efficacy, attitudes towards condoms, socio-demographic variables, and sexual history. The results suggest the condom use inconsistency is highly associated with other risk behaviors but the contrary does not necessarily happens. Condom use consistent users also presented risk behaviors as smoking and drinking. The group differences suggest the risks were more affected by the combination of lack of skills with a negative attitude toward condoms than by contextual or personal variables. These differences sustain the need of an intervention adjusted to the individual's risk levels, since they differ on skills and beliefs that may hinder or promote the adoption of health behaviors.

Condom Use; Cluster Analysis; Sexual Health; Risk Behaviors


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