Population Research and Policy Review 18: 119–136, 1999.
© 1999 Kluwer Academic Publishers. Printed in the Netherlands.
Gender roles, HIV risk behaviors, and perceptions of using
female condoms among college students
MARLIES SCHOENEBERGER, TK LOGAN & CARL LEUKEFELD
Center on Drug and Alcohol Research, University of Kentucky, Lexington, USA
Abstract. The purpose of this study was to examine relationships between gender roles and
HIV risk behavior, and perceptions and acceptance of the female condom among college stu-
dents (n = 410). It was hypothesized that high hyperfeminine females and high hypermasculine
males – those adhering to traditional gender roles – would engage in more HIV risk behaviors,
including alcohol and drug use and various sexual practices, than those with lower hyperfem-
ininity and hypermasculinity. It was also hypothesized that higher hyperfeminine females as
well as higher hypermasculine males would perceive the female condom more negatively and
would be less likely to view the female condom as a viable form of protection in the future. It
was also hypothesized that high hyperfeminine females and high hypermasculine males would
not accept the female condom as an alternative form of protection. Implications for prevention
interventions are discussed.
Keywords: Gender roles, HIV risk behaviors, Female condom
AIDS incidence is increasing more rapidly among heterosexuals than among
other transmission categories with the estimated AIDS incidence among peo-
ple infected heterosexually increasing 17% from 1993 to 1994 (CDC 1996).
HIV awareness has increased with prevention efforts (Feucht et al. 1991),
and needle use seems to have decreased by HIV prevention interventions
(Brown & Minichiello 1994; CDC 1994; 1997). Sexual behavior, however,
has been more difﬁcult to target for prevention interventions, among drug
users and college students (Brown & Minichiello 1994; CDC 1990; Needle
& Coyle 1997). In fact, CDC estimates that as many as one half of new HIV
infections may be among people under age 25 (CDC 1998). In addition to
the increase in heterosexual transmission of AIDS among young people, sex-
ually transmitted diseases (STDs) are also increasing among this age group.
For example, approximately two-thirds of people who acquire STDs in the
US are younger than 25. From 1987 to 1996 there was a 406% increase
in clymadia with the highest rates in adolescents, young adult women, and
economically disadvantaged women (CDC 1997). Further, 1 in 5 people over