Psychosocial Functioning and Decisional Balance to Use Condoms in a Racially/Ethnically Diverse Sample of Young Gay/Bisexual Men Who Have Sex with Men

Ryan Wade, Gary W. Harper, José A. Bauermeister

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Young gay/bisexual and other men who have sex with men (YGBMSM; ages 18–24) are experiencing an increase in HIV infection rates, particularly if they are Black or Latino. Psychosocial functioning is consistently implicated in HIV risk behaviors; however, less is known about the role of these factors in YGBMSM’s decision-making process to use condoms (i.e., decisional balance to use condoms; DBC). We examined whether YGBMSM’s psychological functioning was associated differentially with their DBC across racial/ethnic groups. Using data from a cross-sectional web-survey of single YGBMSM (N = 1380; 9.9% Black; 18.6% Latino; 71.5% White), we performed racial/ethnic-specific multivariable regression models to explore the association between DBC and psychological factors (e.g., depression, anxiety), demographics (e.g., age, education, HIV status, prior STI diagnosis), and perceived difficulty implementing safer sex strategies. Black YGBMSM reported lower DBC if they reported higher depression symptoms (β = −.31, p < .05), were HIV-negative (β = −.20, p < .05), and had greater difficulty implementing safer sex strategies (β = −.32, p < .001). Latino participants reported greater DBC to use condoms if they reported greater anxiety symptoms (β = .21, p < .05). White participants reported greater DBC if they were younger (β = −.09, p < .01), did not report a prior STI (β = .10, p < .001), and had fewer difficulties implementing safer sex strategies (β = −.27, p < .001); DBC had no association to psychological well-being among White participants. Psychological factors may be differentially associated with DBC across racial/ethnic group categories. Health promotion initiatives targeting condom use may benefit from culturally tailored interventions that address psychosocial functioning and its role in YGBMSM’s condom use decision-making.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)195-204
Number of pages10
JournalArchives of Sexual Behavior
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018
Externally publishedYes



  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • HIV
  • Mental health
  • Sexual orientation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Psychology(all)

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