Sexual Risk Taking among Adult Dating Couples in the U.S.: The Influence of Respondent, Partner and Relationship Characteristics
John O.G. Billy, Battelle- Centers for Public Health Research and Evaluation
William R. Grady, Battelle- Centers for Public Health Research and Evaluation
Morgan Sill, Battelle- Centers for Public Health Research and Evaluation
We adopt a couple’s perspective to gain a more comprehensive understanding of factors affecting the risk of HIV and other STDs. Specifically, using reports from both partners in sexual dating relationships, we examine how female and male respondents’ reports of their personal and relationship characteristics are related to their reports of sexual risk taking within their relationship. We include measures of the respondent’s and partner’s perceptions of STD/HIV risk and examine how these perceptions mediate the impact of personal and relationship characteristics on sexual risk taking. We also take relationship power into account and examine how it weights the decision making process toward one partner or the other by reducing the importance of a person’s beliefs about levels of STD/HIV risk. Data come from a study of 335 dating couples (670 individuals) throughout the U.S., where the female partner is age 20-35 years and the male is age 18+.