Objective: The aim of this study was to construct and test measures of psychosocial mediators that could be used in intervention studies seeking to promote safer sex behavior among young black men who have sex with men (YBMSM).
Methods: A total of 400 YBMSM, ages 18 to 29 years, were recruited from a clinic for sexually transmitted infection in the southern United States. All men had engaged in penile-anal sex with a man as a “top” in the past 6 months. The men completed an audio-computer–assisted self-interview and provided specimens used for nucleic acid amplification testing to detect Chlamydia and gonorrhea. Four measures were constructed and tested for criterion validity (Safer Sex Communication, Condom Turn-Offs, Condom Pleasure Scale, and a single item assessing frequency of condom use discussions before sexual arousal).
Results: With the exception of Safer Sex Communication, all of the measures showed criterion validity for both unprotected anal insertive and unprotected anal receptive sex. With the exception of the Condom Turn-Offs, the 3 other measures were supported by criterion validity for oral sex. Both the Condom Turn-Offs and Condom Pleasure Scale were significantly related to whether or not the men reported multiple partners as a top, but only the Condom Pleasure Scale was associated with reports of multiple partners as a “bottom.” Only the Condom Turn-Offs Scale was positively associated with having been diagnosed with either Chlamydia or gonorrhea.
Conclusion: Findings provide 3 brief scales and a single item that can be used in intervention studies targeting YBMSM. Perceptions about condoms being a turnoff and about condoms enhancing pleasure showed strong association with sexual risk behaviors.