First Advisor

Kerth O'Brien

Term of Graduation

Summer 1994

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Psychology






Safe sex in AIDS prevention -- Psychological aspects, Behavior modification, Gay men -- Mental health



Physical Description

1 online resource (2, iv, 77 pages)


This study examined the effects of behavior change on psychological health among gay and bisexual men of Portland, Oregon who were at risk for contracting AIDS. Cross-sectional self-reports of personal experiences were obtained in Summer, 1991. Sexual behaviors were used as predictors of self-efficacy, depression, anxiety, and subjective well-being. Adopting safer sexual behaviors was psychologically more costly than continuing to engage in high risk behaviors, or long-term adherence to safer behaviors. Behaviors amenable to short-term change differed from those conducive to long-term maintenance. Behavior change was also found to have a beneficial effect on self-efficacy.

These findings suggest that behavior change, traditionally considered as the endpoint of a process, might more appropriately be considered as an interim stage influenced by earlier, and having an influence on later, psychological health. By integrating models of behavior change from research on alcohol and drug use, smoking, and weight control, researchers studying AIDS-related behavior might better understand the place of behavior change in the process of change, relapse, and maintenance.


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