Cognitive, behavioral, and personality correlates of HIV-positive persons' unsafe sexual behavior

Edelgard Wulfert, Steven A. Safren, Irving Brown, Choi K. Wan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


This study examined sexually risky behaviors of HIV-positive men and women within the framework of social cognitive theory. Condom use was found to be associated with high self-efficacy, positive influeces from social models, and specific condom use expectancies. As risky sexual behavior may be the manifestation of a more general pattern of risk taking that emerges from personality dispositions such as impulsiveness or psychoticism, this possibility was explored with discriminant analyses. Self-reported impulsivity, substance abuse, promiscuity, and deception served as markers of the presumed disposition. While these variables did not reliably distinguish between consistent and inconsistent condom users, they did enhance significantly the classification of individuals who, during the past 6 months, had been sexually abstinent, monogamous, or nonmonogamous. Those who reported more sex partners scored higher on impulsivity, disclosed more involvement with illegal drugs, and showed greater willingness to mislead potential partners about their sexual history than monogamous or sexually abstinent persons with HIV.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)223-244
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Applied Social Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 1999
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology


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