Sexual Attitudes and Behaviors Among US Adults With and Without Jail Experience: Implications for Health Promotion

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Abstract

Contact with correctional facilities adversely affects midlife health status and contributes to health disparities in the United States. Sexual health of correctional populations has become a focus for public health research and health promotion programs. Relying on the Health Belief Model, most research has focused almost exclusively on case studies of inmates' disease risk, perceptions of disease susceptibility, and condom use. There is a dearth of research on attitudes and behaviors beyond disease risk perceptions and condom use, particularly within a nationally representative sample of adults. Utilizing social cognitive theory, theory of reasoned action, and related theories, this study examines four alternative sexual attitudes and behaviors among a nationally representative sample of adults with and without jail experience. Results show that jail experience is associated with attitudes concerning sexual exclusivity and intimacy, as well as group sex participation and number of partners. Results also demonstrate that alcohol consumption is strongly associated with jail experience and all four outcomes. Findings offer implications for health promotion within correctional populations. Community-based programs focused on correctional populations could be a fruitful line of public health practice, and programs should take into account social contexts, broad attitudes, and risk factors such as substance abuse.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)296-306
Number of pages11
JournalBehavioral Medicine
Volume43
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2 2017
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • health promotion programs
  • jail
  • sexual attitudes and behaviors
  • underserved populations

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