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The Moderating Role of Body Appreciation on Ethnic Identity and Condom Use Intentions
Breanna Jones, Depts. of Psychology and Sociology, Noelle Manfredi, and Calvin Hall, Dept. of Psychology Graduate Student, with Dr. Kristina Hood, Dept. of Psychology
Scholars have long explored the influence of ethnic identity affirmation, or feelings of belonging to one’s ethnic group (Phinney, 1990), on sexual health outcomes (e.g., condom use intentions; Beadnell et al., 2003). Higher ethnic identity safeguards against risky sexual behaviors (Townsend et al., 2010), such that those with higher ethnic identity affirmation reported less risky sexual behaviors. However, limited research has explored how personal factors, such as positive body image (i.e., body appreciation), may influence the relationship between ethnic identity and sexual risk behaviors. Previous research found that women with higher body appreciation tend to report greater condom use self-efficacy (Grower & Ward, 2018). Furthermore, findings suggest that body appreciation and ethnic identity affirmation are positively associated (Cotter et al., 2013), such that those with higher body appreciation reported greater ethnic identity affirmation. However, body appreciation, ethnic identity affirmation, and condom use intentions have not been studied together. Responsively, the current study aimed to examine the role of body appreciation on the relationship between ethnic identity affirmation and future condom use intentions in a sample of Black and Latinx women. This study was guided by the theory of plan behavior (Ajzen, 1985; Townsend et al., 2006)), which asserts that one’s behavioral intentions (e.g., condom use intentions) are tied to social norms and their attitudes about themselves and others. We hypothesized that body appreciation would moderate the link between ethnic identity affirmation and future condom use intentions. The current sample consisted of 148 heterosexual Black (n= 81) and Latinx women (n= 67), ages 18 to 60 (M= 30.78, SD= 7.65), who were recruited from Amazon Mechanical Turk.
The Hayes PROCESS (2017) regression-based tool was used to examine whether body appreciation moderated the relationship between ethnic identity affirmation and future condom use intentions after controlling for age and relationship status. Results suggest an interaction between ethnic identity affirmation and body appreciation on future condom use intentions, B(SE)= -.11(0.06), ΔR2= .02, p= 0.05. To interpret the statistically significant moderation effect, Hayes’s (2017) PROCESS v.3 Johnson-Neyman analysis was used. For Black and Latinx women with lower body appreciation, ethnic identity affirmation did not influence condom use scores, b(SE)= -7.20 (.05), 95% CI[-.17, 0.28], p= 0.16. However, for Black and Latinx women with higher body appreciation, those with lower ethnic identity affirmation had greater condom use intentions than those with higher ethnic identity affirmation, b(SE)= 0.84(.90) 95% CI[-.40, -0.52], p= 0.01. That is, among participants who appreciate their bodies, those who felt less belonging to their ethnic group endorsed greater intentions to use condoms in the future compared to those who felt greater belonging to their ethnic group. Findings suggest that, the influence of body appreciation differs based on one’s level of ethnic identity affirmation, which is counterintuitive to literature suggesting that low ethnic identity is associated with worse sexual health outcomes (e.g., Espinosa-Hernandez & Lefkowitz, 2009). For that reason, more research is needed to replicate the current findings.
Kristina Hood, Ph.D.
Virginia Commonwealth University. Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program
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