Date of Award

December 2018

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)




Sarah E. Woolf-King


affect, condom use, emerging adult, sexual risk behavior

Subject Categories

Social and Behavioral Sciences


Despite decades of research on correlates of condom use, and numerous intervention development studies, condom use behavior remains inconsistent among adolescents and emerging adults as the incidence and prevalence of sexually transmitted infections continues to rise. One factor that may play a role in risky sexual decision-making is state affect, however, research investigating this relationship is equivocal. Therefore, the goal of this study was to examine the effects of experimentally induced affective arousal and affective valence on intentions to engage in condomless sexual activity in a sample of emerging adults. Based on the dual systems model of youth decision-making, it was hypothesized that participants randomized to the high affective arousal conditions would report greater intentions to engage in condomless sexual activity than participants randomized to the low affective arousal conditions. In addition, it was hypothesized that there would be no differences in intentions to engage in condomless sexual activity between participants randomized to the positive or negative valence conditions. Participants included heterosexual-sexually active emerging adults who reported not being in a monogamous romantic relationship (N = 136). Results did not support the hypothesis predicting a main effect of affective arousal, however, the hypothesis predicting no main effect of affective valence was supported. This study provides the first experimental data about the relationship between affective arousal and affective valence on risky sexual decision-making. Findings suggest that stable individual-difference factors may be more strongly associated with sexual risk behavior than situational and contextual factors.


Open Access



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