228280 Narcissistic personality traits, substance use, and sexual risk behavior in HIV-positive adults

Monday, November 8, 2010

Eric Benotsch, PhD , Department of Psychology, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA
Marisa Green, MA , Department of Counseling Psychology, University of Denver, Denver
Shannon Perschbacher , Department of Psychology, University of Colorado Denver, Denver, CO
Mark Thrun, MD , Denver Health and Hospital Authority, Denver, CO
Most HIV-positive individuals take steps to protect their sexual partners, including limiting the number of partners, limiting their sexual partners to other individuals with HIV, and consistent condom use. Previous work has noted an association between sexual risk behavior and psychiatric conditions, including depression, substance use disorders, and posttraumatic stress disorder. Less attention has been paid to associations between personality disorder symptoms and sexual risk. In the present study, HIV-positive adults (N=310) were recruited from an infectious disease clinic. Participants completed a self-administered questionnaire assessing narcissistic personality traits, substance use, and sexual risk behavior. The majority of participants (85%) reported no unprotected vaginal or anal intercourse in the past 3 months with a partner who was HIV-negative or whose HIV status was unknown. Individuals who reported unprotected sex with a partner at risk for HIV scored significantly higher on the narcissism measure (M=23.35, SD = 5.5) than individuals who did not (M=19.78, SD=5.3; t = 4.02, p<.001). Higher narcissism scores were associated with higher rates of having sex after drinking (rho=0.20), having sex after using drugs (rho =0.22), total sexual partners (rho=0.17) and total unprotected sex acts in the past 3 months (rho=0.23; all ps <.01). In a sequential logistic regression equation, narcissistic traits predicted having multiple sexual partners, after accounting for the influence of gender, race, and use of alcohol, marijuana, ecstasy, cocaine, and methamphetamine (OR=1.07, CI=1.01, 1.13). Interventions focused on reducing risk behavior in HIV-positive adults need to take into account associations between narcissism and risk

Learning Areas:
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs

Learning Objectives:
Describe relationships between narcisstic personality traits and sexual risk behavior in HIV-positive adults

Keywords: HIV/AIDS, Mental Illness

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have a doctorate in Clinical Health Psychology.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.