Yale University

Avoidance, anxiety, and sex: the influence of romantic attachment on HIV-risk among pregnant women.

TitleAvoidance, anxiety, and sex: the influence of romantic attachment on HIV-risk among pregnant women.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2007
AuthorsKershaw, Trace S., Stephanie Milan, Claire Westdahl, Jessica Lewis, Sharon Schindler Rising, Rachel Fletcher, and Jeannette Ickovics
JournalAIDS and behavior
Date Published2007 Mar
KeywordsAdolescent, Adult, Anxiety, Condoms, Female, Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice, HIV Infections, Humans, Love, Male, Pregnancy, Pregnancy Complications, Infectious, Risk-Taking, Sexual Behavior
AbstractMost unprotected sex occurs in close relationships. However, few studies examine relational factors and sexual risk among high-risk populations. Romantic Attachment Theory states that individuals have cognitive working models for relationships that influence expectations, affect, and behavior. We investigated the influence of attachment avoidance and anxiety on sexual beliefs (e.g., condom use beliefs, self-efficacy), behavior (e.g., condom use, multiple partners, unprotected sex with risky partners), and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) among 755 high-risk, young pregnant women (ages 14-25) recruited from urban prenatal clinics. Attachment anxiety predicted sexual beliefs, condom use, and unprotected sex with risky partners controlling for demographic variables. Sexual beliefs did not mediate the relationship between attachment orientation and sexual behavior. Current relationship with the father of the baby did mediate the effect of attachment anxiety on multiple partners and STIs. Results indicate the importance of including general relational factors, such as attachment, in HIV prevention.
Alternate JournalAIDS Behav

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