Condoms on Campus: Understanding College Students' Embarrassment, Self-Efficacy, and Beliefs about Distribution Programs

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Sexually Transmitted Diseases


Background Condom distribution programs are a structural-level intervention implemented on college campuses to reduce sexually transmitted infections and unplanned pregnancies. Understanding students' beliefs about these programs and attitudes that can affect condom use is critical. Methods Students at 6 different universities (n = 2809) completed items related to beliefs about campus condom distribution programs and their personal condom embarrassment and condom self-efficacy levels. Surveys were completed both in classroom and online. T Tests and analysis of variance were used to examine differences based on demographics. Logistic regression was used to examine predictors of condom use. Results College students support the distribution of condoms on campus (97.4%) but express moderate levels of embarrassment in condom acquisition and possession (mean, 19.37). Lower rates of embarrassment were reported for condom negotiation (mean, 9.13) and actual condom use (mean, 8.48). Lower overall rates of embarrassment were reported by condom users, men and individuals in relationships compared with noncondom users, women, and single individuals. Heterosexual students were more embarrassed than bisexual students about acquiring condoms and negotiating condom use. Condom users, men, and individuals in relationships had higher rates of condom self-efficacy compared with nonusers, women, and single students. There were no differences in self-efficacy based on sexual orientation. Embarrassment about acquiring and actual use of condoms, condom self-efficacy and demographics were all significant predictors of condom use. Conclusions Campus condom distribution programs are supported by college students. Interventions to address embarrassment and increase condom self-efficacy need to be tailored to different students based on gender, experience with condoms, and relationship status.


Health and Human Performance

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