Risk assessment heuristics: Cues and intention to use a condom in casual sex

Anna Rinaldi-Miles, Brian L Quick, Laura McCloskey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: This study examined the relationship between three heuristic cues (consistency, liking and social proof) and condom use in casual sex relationships utilising the theory of planned behaviour. Participants: Totally, 388 US college students were surveyed. Method: Three vignettes for each cue primed students to project their willingness to use a condom during casual sex encounters. Results: Repeated-measures multivariate analysis of covariance (MANCOVA) revealed that the cues exerted significant main effects on attitude (F(5, 1,935) = 6.16, p <.001), subjective norms (F(5, 1,930) = 5.626, p <.001), perceived behavioural control (F(5, 1,935) = 8.51, p <.001) and behavioural intentions (F(5, 1,930) = 2.44, p =.033). Post hoc analysis revealed condom avoidance behavioural intentions were more likely for the vignette depicting social proof (M = -1.26, standard deviation [SD] = 1.08). Conclusion: Findings indicate that heuristic cues influence college students' condom use intentions, and prevention programmes should incorporate cues to increase effectiveness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)313-325
Number of pages13
JournalHealth Education Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 1 2017


  • Casual sex
  • USA
  • college students
  • condom use
  • heuristic cues

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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