Attitudes toward condoms and condom use: A review

M. W. Ross

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


The following topics are reviewed: condom use, attitudes toward condoms, reasons for failure to use condoms, personality and attitudes toward condoms, attitudes toward condoms and behavior, and changing attitudes toward condoms. The use of condoms varies across cultures. Prevention which emphasizes group subjective norms, personality, and interpersonal and situational barriers may influence condom use; intervention studies have not yet fully tested this hypothesis, however. What is known is that attitudes and use of condoms can be changed. Negative attitudes toward condom use include the perception of impaired pleasure, lack of availability at the appropriate time, coitus interruptus, and unnaturalness or unreliability. Positive perceptions may counterbalance the negative attitudes. In several military studies, it was found that lack of availability, perceived lack of risk, and influence of alcohol were the major reasons for failure to use. In many studies the reduction of pleasure is a dominant theme. Pharmacies were the preferred place of purchase. Among college students, condoms were viewed as minimizing a health risk but associated use with there being something wrong with their partner. A Dutch study found a reduced belief in the efficacy of condoms as a contraceptive but increased trust in the protection against AIDS. In a pre- and posttest of attitudes toward condom use among heterosexual couples, the findings were that attitudes could be modified and that information needs to relate to the context of sexual activity and sensorimotor arousal. The condom film with sexually explicit activity and instructions on condom placement was successful in generating a significant increase in positive attitudes toward condoms. Examining link between attitudes and behavior, however, is a necessary next step.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10-16
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of STD and AIDS
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1992


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