Date of Submission

Fall 2017

Academic Programs and Concentrations


Project Advisor 1

Justin Hulbert

Abstract/Artist's Statement

Condom-use has historically been associated as a low-risk, preventative health behavior (Kiene, Barta, Zelenski, & Cothran, 2005). Yet, condom-use is not without risk, as it is an interpersonal behavior that could be potentially relationship threatening (St.Lawrence, 1999; Fisher & Fisher, 1995). Because of the potential relationship risk of condom-use, it cannot be equated with risk-averse preventative health behaviors, such as sunscreen use or wearing a seatbelt. For these reasons, Prospect Theory (Kahneman & Tversky, 1981), provides a strong framework to understanding how to best frame condom-use messages in relation to specific circumstances. Prospect Theory predicts that potentially risky behaviors will be encouraged by framing messages as losses, and behaviors that are not risky should be encouraged by using messages framed as gains. Following Prospect Theory, messages encouraging condom-use for people at low-risk of contracting HIV or other STIs should be framed as gains, while for people at a higher risk of contracting HIV or other STIs should be loss framed. Additionally, due to the potential social risk in condom-use, messages mentioning sexual partners should be loss framed. This project seeks to learn more about the types of condom-use messages men find most persuasive, and how that might differ depending on their sexual orientation and other relevant concerns. Through an online survey, I investigated the mean rating of framed (gain/loss) and categorized (health/relationship) condom-messages of both heterosexual and homosexual men. The data analysis included 98 homosexual and 101 heterosexual participants recruited from Mechanical Turk. While I predicted that loss-framed messages would be rated as more effective by homosexual men than heterosexual men, the results of my research showed no difference. There was a main effect of gain-framed messages and a main effect of health-category massages.

Keywords: prospect theory, heterosexual, homosexual, framing, condom-use, risk-taking

Open Access Agreement

Open Access

Creative Commons License

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