Examining the Principles of Influence on Safer Sex Communication During Casual and Committed Sexual Encounters

Tobias Reynolds-Tylus, Anna Rinaldi-Miles, Brian L. Quick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Teens and young people are at risk for contracting sexually transmitted infections. Understanding how relationship context may moderate the effectiveness of safer sex communication strategies among this demographic is important information for practitioners striving to promote safer sex behaviors. In this study, focus groups (N = 9) with college students were conducted and analyzed to examine the relation between 6 principles of influence (authority, consistency, liking, reciprocity, scarcity, and social proof) and safer sex communication during committed and casual sexual encounters. Results revealed that with the exceptions of social proof and consistency, the principles of influence were endorsed more frequently for casual than committed sexual encounters. For casual sexual encounters, the principles of authority, reciprocity, and scarcity arose as influential principles. For committed sexual encounters, the principles of consistency, liking, and reciprocity arose as influential principles. These results are discussed with an emphasis on the theoretical and practical implications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1214-1223
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Health Communication
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 3 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Communication
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Library and Information Sciences


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