Substance-related expectancies among men who have sex with men : development of psychometric tools to predict unprotected sexual activity

Mullens, Amy Boedicker (2011) Substance-related expectancies among men who have sex with men : development of psychometric tools to predict unprotected sexual activity. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


Significant research has demonstrated direct and indirect associations between substance use and sexual behaviour. Substance use is related to sexual risk-taking and HIV seroconversion among some substance-using MSM. It remains unclear what factors mediate or underlie this relationship, and which substances are associated with greater harm. Substance-related expectancies are hypothesised as potential mechanisms. A conceptual model based on social-cognitive theory was tested, which explores the role of demographic factors, substance use, substance-related expectancies and novelty-seeking personality characteristics in predicting unprotected anal intercourse (UAI) while under the influence, across four commonly used substance types. Phase 1, a qualitative study (N = 20), explored how MSM perceive the effects of substance use on their thoughts, feelings and behaviours, including sexual behaviours. Information was attained through discussion and interviews, resulting in the establishment of key themes. Results indicated MSM experience a wide range of reinforcing aspects associated with substance use. General and specific effects were evident across substance types, and were associated with sexual behaviour and sexual risk-taking. Phase 2 consisted of developing a comprehensive profile of substance-related expectancies for MSM (SEP-MSM) regarding alcohol, cannabis, amyl nitrite and stimulants that possessed sound psychometric properties and was appropriate for use among this group. A cross-sectional questionnaire with 249 participants recruited through gay community networks was used to validate these measures, and involved online data collection, participants rating expectancy items and subsequent factor analysis. Results indicated expectancies can be reliably assessed, and predicted substance use patterns. Phase 3 examined demographic factors, substance use, substance-related expectancies, and novelty-seeking traits among another community sample of MSM (N = 277) throughout Australia, in predicting UAI while under the influence. Using a cross-sectional design, participants were recruited through gay community networks and completed online questionnaires. The SEP-MSM, and associated substance use, predicted UAI. This research extends social-cognitive theory regarding sexual behaviour, and advances understanding of the role of expectancies associated with substance use and sexual risk-taking. Future applications of the SEP-MSM in health promotion, prevention, clinical interventions and research are likely to contribute to reducing harm associated with substance-using MSM (e.g., HIV transmission).

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ID Code: 47333
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Supervisor: Young, Ross & Dunne, Michael
Keywords: alcohol, amyl nitrite, cannabis, stimulants, reinforcement from substance use, substance use expectancies, gay/bisexual, MSM, mixed-methods, consensual qualitative analysis, online questionnaire, factor analysis, discriminant function analysis
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Schools > School of Psychology & Counselling
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 29 Nov 2011 04:42
Last Modified: 29 Nov 2011 04:42

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