ERPs Reveal Disengagement Processes Related to Condom Use Embarrassment in Intention-Behavior Inconsistent Young Adults.


Department of Work and Social Psychology, Maastricht University, 6200 MD, Maastricht, The Netherlands. [Email]


The use of barrier protections such as condoms has consistently been reported to reduce the acquisition of sexually transmitted infections. However, it has also been reported that the association between condom use intentions and behavior is, at best, often weak. Furthermore, embarrassment associated with purchasing condoms and negotiating their use has been shown to negatively impact the frequency of condom use. Using electroencephalography to analyze P300 event-related potential components known to measure early attention allocation, we examined electrophysiological evidence of early attention disengagement for embarrassing health information. Forty young adults-34 females and six males-participated in an adapted version of Posner's visual cueing paradigm. All were high in intention to use condoms, but half were intention-behavior consistent and half were intention-behavior inconsistent. Compared to intention-behavior consistent participants, those with intention-behavior inconsistency showed a reduced P300 component when attending to a visual target opposite to the field in which embarrassing self-relevant health information was presented, indicating more efficient early attention disengagement from such embarrassing health information. In conclusion, our electrophysiological data suggest that high intention alone may be not sufficient to predict adolescents' condom use behavior.


Condom use,ERP,Embarrassment,Intention-behavior gap,P300,Sexual health,

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