Using the Health Belief Model to Predict Condom Use Intentions Among College Students
Keywords:Safe sex, Health Belief Model, Sex safety knowledge, Sex role egalitarianism
The average age of adolescents having sex for the first time in China is 15.9 years old. However, the opening up of sexual attitudes has not resulted in an increased awareness of safe sex. Adolescents face health risks associated with unsafe sex (e.g., STDs, unplanned pregnancies), which will affect their future development, interpersonal relationships, and family relationships. Using condom can reduce the risk of STDs and unplanned pregnancy. Studies show that sex-related knowledge and gender inequality attitudes are closely related to adolescents' contraceptive behavior. Based on Health Belief Model (HBM), this study explored the factors and mechanisms influencing condom use intention in college students. 239 college students completed an online questionnaire. The result showed that the Health Belief Model significantly predicted college students' intention to use condoms; the level of knowledge about sexual safety indirectly affected college students' intention to use condoms through perceived benefit, perceived vulnerability, and perceived severity; and equality sex role attitudes directly affect condom use intention and also indirectly through perceived benefits and perceived severity. These results provide recommendations for media to better publicize condom use, which is important for reducing the rate of unplanned pregnancies and abortions among college students and improving the overall quality of life and health of the society.