Primacy of Affect Over Cognition in Determining Adult Men's Condom-Use Behavior

A Review

Published in: Journal of Applied Social Psychology, v. 35, no. 12, Dec. 2005, p. 2493-2534

Posted on RAND.org on December 31, 2004

by Tina R. Norton, Laura M. Bogart, Heather Cecil, Steven D. Pinkerton

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Prior research suggests that failure to use condoms can be understood within the context of condom-related attitudes. The authors reviewed quantitative and qualitative literature on adult men's condom-use attitudes; condom-related attitudinal beliefs were classified as cognitive (e.g., effectiveness) or affective (e.g., pleasure-related), and their relationships to behavior were examined. To determine differences in the effects of cognitive and affective beliefs, the authors conducted a critical qualitative review, a meta-analysis, and a vote-count. In support of the primacy of affect hypothesis (Zajonc, 1984), cognitive beliefs were weaker predictors of condom use than were affective beliefs. Results suggest that HIV-prevention interventions will have greater success by addressing negative affective reactions to condom use in addition to promoting the protective value of condoms.

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