Determinants of intentions to practise safe sex among 16-25 year-olds

Wendy Hardeman, Antonio Pierro, Lucia Mannetti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


This study aimed at predicting intentions to avoid casual sex and to use condoms, through self-efficacy, attitudes, optimistic bias in perceived risk, knowledge and past sexual risk behaviour. To this end, a mixed-sex sample of high school and university students between 16 and 25 years completed questionnaires at two points in time. Intentions to avoid casual sex were predicted positively by the attitude towards avoiding casual sex and assertiveness in sexual relationships, and negatively by communication about sex. The intention to use condoms was predicted positively by the perceived benefits of condom use, and negatively by past sexual risk behaviour and fatalism. Gender and sexual experience were found to have a moderating influence, implying that AIDS education should use different messages for these target groups. Since the results show that condom use is quite a powerful habit and that sexually non-active subjects had more positive intentions towards safe sex, AIDS education should start at a young age in order to establish safe sex habits from the beginning.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)345-360
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Community and Applied Social Psychology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1997


  • Adolescents
  • Prevention
  • Safe sex
  • Students

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