141st APHA Annual Meeting

In This section

Power of a partner's love: Relationship commitment and loving one's partner only reduce condom use when one feels loved

Tuesday, November 5, 2013 : 1:30 PM - 1:45 PM

Erin M. Walsh, MS , Department of Community Health and Health Behavior, School of Public Health and Health Professions, University at Buffalo, SUNY, Buffalo, NY
Marc T. Kiviniemi, PhD , Department of Community Health and Health Behavior, School of Public Health and Health Professions, University at Buffalo, SUNY, Buffalo, NY
INTRODUCTION: Despite the efficacy of condoms in preventing unwanted pregnancies and STI transmission, individuals' feelings of romantic love for their partner may hinder condom use. However, the independent effect of feeling loved by one's partner remains under-examined. Therefore, this study explored the effect of partners' love on condom use, and whether it moderates the effect of relationship status and one's own love. METHOD: Data from the publicly available subset of Wave 3 of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health was analyzed. Participants (n=4,882) ages 18-28 provided information about a recent sexual relationship, including sexual activity, contraceptive use, and how much they and their partner love each other. RESULTS: Controlling for age, gender, and use of hormonal contraceptives, participants' perception of their partners' love for them was negatively associated with the odds of using a condom (OR=0.87, p=.038). Partners' love also moderated the effect of being in a committed relationship (vs. casual; OR=0.71, p=.016) and participants' own love for their partner (OR=0.85, p<.001), such that each was associated with lower odds of using a condom when partners' love was perceived as high (relationship status: OR=0.49, p=.031; own love: OR=0.66, p<.001), but not when low (ps>.50). CONCLUSIONS: The effects of two consistent predictors of lower condom use, being in a committed relationship and loving one's partner, were moderated by perceptions of partners' love. Future research is needed to elucidate the mechanism through which a partner's love has its effects, and to inform condom promotion efforts that target individuals' relationship needs.

Learning Areas:
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Explain the ways in which perceptions of a partnerís love influence condom use. Discuss the implications of these findings on how we conceptualize and target relationship-level predictors of condom use.

Keywords: Condom Use, Risk Behavior

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: My research interests center around the psychosocial predictors of condom use among young adults. I have presented related data in the past, and conducted all the data analysis for the current project.
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.