Date of Graduation
Bachelor of Science
Health, Human Performance and Recreation
Committee Member/Second Reader
Background: Men who have sex with men (MSM) continue to be disproportionately affected by HIV/AIDS and other STIs. Condom use is one of the most effective methods of prevention, but rates of condom use have been steadily declining among MSM. Therefore, determining what factors influence condom use decision-making among MSM is important. Interpersonal factors such as physical attractiveness, race, and age have been explored in relation to condom use. However, there is a dearth of research exploring the influence of discrepancies between casual partners in these social categories and its influence on condom use directly.
Purpose: The purpose of this study was to assess the role of dyadic discrepancies on condom use behaviors among a sample of MSM. We examined discrepancies based on attractiveness, age, and race.
Methodology: A sample of 205 MSM was recruited via Qualtrics’ national panel. The majority of participants identified as white (67.5%), middle aged (Mage = 38.7, SD = 13.1), and gay (67.5%). Participants completed a series of questions about their demographic characteristics, their own attractiveness and that of their most recent partner, most recent partner characteristics and event-level condom use. Attractiveness differences were categorized into three groupings: (0) the partner is more attractive, (1) the participant is more attractive, and (2) they are equal in attractiveness. Race differences were dummy coded into (0) no difference in race with partner and (1) difference in race with partner. Age differences were dummy coded into (0) same age category, (1) partner was younger than the respondent, and (2) partner was older than the respondent based on decade ranges (i.e., 20s, 30s, etc.). Finally, event-level condom use was dummy coded into (0) did not use a condom and (1) used a condom. Chi-square analyses were used to compare the percentages of condom use based on these dyadic differences.
Results: A sizeable minority did not use a condom (35.9%). Most men had sex with older (40.8%) men, men of the same race (65%), and men with a higher level of attractiveness (52.9%). There was no significant relationship between age differences (χ2 (2, N = 205) = 2.397, p = 0.302), racial differences (χ2 (1, N = 205) = 1.05, p = 0.30.), and attractiveness differences (χ2 (2, N = 205) = 2.82, p = 0.24.) and condom use.
Discussion: Since a sizable minority of participants reported not using a condom, prevention programming should continue to advocate for condom use among MSM. The limited racial differences and pronounced age differences demonstrate the uniqueness and isolation of MSM sexual networks. Future research should explore the contexts in which dyadic differences influence condom use and other risk-mitigating factors.
Funding Source: State Undergraduate Research Fellowship
MSM, Dyadic Differences, Condom Use
O'Neil, Andrew M., "The Influence of Interpersonal Dyadic Differences on Condom Use among Men Who Have Sex with Men" (2019). Health, Human Performance and Recreation Undergraduate Honors Theses. 67.
Available for download on Wednesday, April 22, 2020
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