Relationship Power for Women Leads to Higher Rates of Condom Use
March 7, 2003
United States researchers have confirmed long-held assumptions about relationship power and safe sex. "Women's ability to negotiate safer sexual practices, particularly condom use, is a vital component of HIV/STD prevention strategies," according to J. Pulerwitz and colleagues, Population Council. "Gender-based power imbalances may constrain women's negotiation ability, yet few empirical studies have tested the hypothesis that sexual relationship power constitutes a key factor in condom use negotiation." The researchers applied "a new measure -- the Sexual Relationship Power Scale (SRPS)" to data "collected from 388, mostly Latina, women at an urban community health center in Massachusetts."Adapted from:
Study data showed that "population attributable risk estimates indicate that 52% of the lack of consistent condom use among women can be attributed to low sexual relationship power," Pulerwitz and coauthors reported. They found that "women with high levels of relationship power were five times as likely as women with low levels to report consistent condom use, after controlling for sociodemographic and psychosocial variables."
"The strong association between the Sexual Relationship Power Scale and consistent condom use supports the hypothesis that relationship power plays a key role in safer sex decision making," the researchers concluded. "These findings underscore the importance of including the issue of relationship power in the design and implementation of programs that promote sexual and reproductive health, as well as research investigating condom use and HIV risk." The study, "Relationship Power, Condom Use and HIV Risk Among Women in the USA" was published in AIDS Care (2002;14(6):789-800).
Women's Health Weekly
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.