We determined the association of demographic, psychosocial, and contextual factors with condom use among a large community sample of at-risk adolescents recruited from four locations in the U.S.
We enrolled 1,410 adolescents/young adults between the ages of 15 and 21 with a history of unprotected sex in the past 90 days at four study sites. Subjects completed an audio-assisted, computerized assessment that gathered information about sexual behavior and its contexts, substance use, and relevant risk and protective attitudes.
Nearly two-thirds of adolescents did not use condoms at the time of last intercourse and adolescents reported a mean of 15.5 (median = 5) unprotected intercourse occasions in the past 90 days. Controlling for relevant demographic variables, not using condoms was associated with the perception that condoms reduce sexual pleasure, the perception that partners will not approve of condom use, and less discussion with partners about condoms.
Even across racial/ethnic groups, gender, and geographic locations, several important correlates of adolescents' sexual risk reduction were identified. Many adolescents may feel that condoms reduce their sexual pleasure and fear partner reactions if they initiate condom use. These attitudes may be malleable through clinical and community-based interventions.