5039.0: Wednesday, November 15, 2000 - Board 1

Abstract #2882

College students' understanding of condom use frequency statements

Heather Cecil, PhD, Department of Maternal and Child Health, University of Alabama at Birmingham, RHPB 320, 1530 3rd Avenue South, Birmingham, AL 35242-0022, 205-934-6469, hcecil@uab.edu, Steven D. Pinkerton, PhD, Center for AIDS Intervention Research, Medical College of Wisconsin, 2071 N. Summit Avenue, Milwaukee, WI 53202, Laura M. Bogart, PhD, Department of Psychology, Kent State University, Kent, OH 44242, and Larissa Myaskovsky, MA, Department of Psychology, University of Pittsburgh, 405 Langley Hall, Pittsburgh, PA 15260.

Self-reported condom use, a staple of HIV risk assessment instruments, may be inaccurate due to misunderstanding or interpreting of frequency terms idiosyncratically. 58 undergraduates (17-24 years) interpreted 21 condom use frequency statements. In first set, hypothetical couple used condoms between 1% and 99% of 100 intercourse acts; second set varied use from 1 to 20 out of 20 events; third set varied use from 1 to 100 out of 100 events. Respondents indicated how often the couple would say they used condoms (never, rarely, some of the time, most of the time, always). Most said using condoms 1% of the time is "never," 5% "rarely," 25%, 50% "some of the time," and 75%, 95%, 99% represent "most of the time." Consensus was not ubiquitous. Classification influenced by question wording. There was some subjective interpretation by respondents.

Table: Most common response classification provided by respondents
% use1 Times used 2 Times used 3
1% Never (55.4%) -------- Never (61.4%)
5% Rarely (85.7%) Rarely (53.6%) Rarely (75.4%)
25% Some (53.6%) Rarely (80.7%) Rarely (76.8%)
50% Some (85.7%) Some (82.1%) Some (87.5%)
75% Most (80.4%) Some (80.4%) Some (75.4%)
95% Most (82.1%) Most (59.6%) Most (76.8%)
99% Most (63.6%) ------- Most (54.4%)
1 A couple have had vaginal intercourse 100 times. They used condoms 5% of the time.
2 A couple have had vaginal intercourse 20 times. On 1 of those occasions, they used condoms.
3 A couple have had vaginal intercourse 100 times. On 5 of those occasions, they used condoms.

Learning Objectives: (1) To identify response biases in sexual behavior survey methodology (2) To recoginize the comprehension difficulties of commonly employed response categories in survey methodology (3) To employ better assessment technques when designing their own sexual behavior surveys

Keywords: HIV Risk Behavior, Survey

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Organization/institution whose products or services will be discussed: None
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

The 128th Annual Meeting of APHA