Application of the Social Action Theory to Understand Factors Associated with Risky Sexual Behavior Among Individuals in Residential Substance Abuse Treatment

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HIV, event level, risky sexual behavior, substance users, social action theory, residential substance abuse treatment

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Risky sexual behavior (RSB) is a leading cause of HIV/AIDS, particularly among urban substance users. Using the social action theory, an integrative systems model of sociocognitive, motivational, and environmental influences, as a guiding framework, the current study examined (1) environmental influences, (2) psychopathology and affect, (3) HIV-related attitudes and knowledge, and (4) self-regulatory skills/deficits as factors associated with event-level condom use (CU) among a sample of 156 substance users residing at a residential substance abuse treatment center (M age = 41.85; SD = 8.59; 75% male). RSB was assessed using event-level measurement of CU given its advantages for improved accuracy of recall and ability for an examination of situational variables. A logistic regression predicting event-level CU indicated the significant contribution of partner type (environmental influences), less favorable attitudes towards condoms (HIV-related attitudes and knowledge), and higher levels of risk-taking propensity (self-regulatory skills/deficits) in predicting greater likelihood of not having used a condom at one's most recent sexual encounter. This study contributes to the literature examining HIV risk behaviors among substance users within a theory-driven model of risk.

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Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, v. 24, issue 2, p. 311-321