Section 46
Chapter 45,618

Condom beliefs in urban, low income, African American and Hispanic youth

Norris, A.E.; Ford, K.

Health Education Quarterly 21(1): 39-53


ISSN/ISBN: 0195-8402
PMID: 8188492
DOI: 10.1177/109019819402100106
Accession: 045617913

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To investigate the effect of ethnicity on beliefs about condoms, a sample of 726 Black and 709 Hispanic, 15-24 year old, low-income residents of a midwestern US city was interviewed between February and July 1991. Acculturation measured with Marin et al.'s assessment of language use was high among the Hispanic respondents. Interview questions on demographic characteristics, condom beliefs, condom use, and factors related to condom use were developed through a pilot study, consultations, and pretests. At the end of each interview, respondents were given information on AIDS prevention. Data were analyzed for the respondents who knew what a condom was and reported vaginal intercourse in the past year. 54% were Black (62% of these were female), 46% Hispanic (51% were male), with 57% of Mexican origin. Mean age for each subgroup was 20 years. Hispanic respondents were more usually married (18 vs. 2%) and employed (40 vs. 31%) but less well educated (37 vs. 51% still in school) than Black respondents. Condom beliefs significantly related to frequency of condom use for vaginal intercourse were that they extend sex, destroy the mood for sex, are only necessary with a prostitute, are embarrassing to purchase, come off during use, break often, are hard to dispose of after use, are uncomfortable, are only used with people to be kept at a distance emotionally, are embarrassing to put on, interfere with sensation, are messy, denote unfaithfulness to your partner, are only carried by women looking for sex, are a symbol of a lack of trust, and that men will promise to withdraw to avoid using a condom. Significant gender differences were found in all but 5 beliefs (embarrassing to buy, come off, break often, embarrassing to put on, promise to withdraw). The largest gender difference related to women carrying condoms, which women think does not denote a desire for sex. Ethnic differences occurred for all but 6 beliefs (extend sex, destroy the mood, uncomfortable, interfere with sensation, denote unfaithfulness, promise to withdraw). Ethnic differences persisted after analysis for gender and age except for the issue of trust which was explained by gender differences. There were significant differences in acculturation among Hispanic respondents for all but 4 beliefs (embarrassing to purchase, come off, break, embarrassing to put on). The largest acculturation difference was in the belief that woman who carry condoms are seeking sex (high acculturation means no belief in this). Gender and age analysis accounted for 3 effects of acculturation (duration of sex, uncomfortable, and messy). Acculturation differences seemed to drive ethnic differences for sex with prostitutes, condom use with people to be kept at a distance, and interfering with sensation. Significant age differences were found only for coming off, trust, and withdraw as an excuse, with no consistent patterns. In general, women, Blacks, and acculturated Hispanics were more positive towards condoms. Further research is needed to compare these results with those of other surveys and to clarify whether beliefs are formed prior to or in response to condom experience.

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