Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Faye Belgrave

Second Advisor

Natalie Shook


The current project involved three studies designed to examine which characteristics of persuasive communications change condom use attitudes. Study 1 investigated the effect of message type (affective versus cognitive) and source (male versus female) on attitude change among a sample of African American women attending college. In Study 1 (N = 146), the affective message and female source produced the most positive change in condom use attitudes. Study 2 examined whether message type and source were associated with favorable condom attitudes in a community sample and whether these findings differed from a college sample. Twenty-seven women participated in group discussions and completed measures of attitudes and intentions. Similar to Study 1, the pattern of means in Study 2 showed the affective message delivered by the female source resulted in the most positive condom use attitude change. These results were not significant likely due to the small sample. Focus groups were also conducted to better understand the types of condom use messages African American women find effective. Several themes emerged: condom used primarily for pregnancy prevention; negative condom use attitudes; communicating messages through internet, TV, and radio; creating fun, catchy, and informative messages; using celebrities and peers to deliver messages; and increasing the frequency of messages to equal importance of topic. The third study assessed the effectiveness of an attitude change pilot intervention that was based on the results of Studies 1 and 2. The study used a 2 (intervention vs. control) X 3 (pretest, posttest, follow-up) mixed factorial design to examine whether women’s attitudes changed after a pilot session and whether the change persisted over time. African American women (N = 115) were recruited through Craigslist and community agencies. There were no significant differences across time for the intervention and the control group. Reasons for the lack of an effect in Study 3 are discussed. Taken together, these studies provide evidence that, under certain conditions an affective message delivered by a female source can change attitudes toward using condoms. The results of these studies could potentially enhance existing interventions by renewing a focus on changing attitudes as well as behavior.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

July 2012

Included in

Psychology Commons