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Validity of scales measuring the psychosocial

determinants of HIV/STD-related risk behavior in



Health Education Research, Vol. 14, No. 1, 25-38, February 1999

© 1999 Oxford University Press

Validity of scales measuring the psychosocial

determinants of HIV/STD-related risk behavior in


K. Basen-Engquist, L. C. Māsse, K. Coyle, D. Kirby, G. S. Parcel, S. Banspach

and J. Nodora

Department of Behavioral Science, Box 243, University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, 1515 Holcombe Boulevard, Houston, TX 77030,


We examined the content, construct and concurrent validity of scales to assess beliefs and self-efficacy related to adolescents' sexual risk behavior. We addressed content validity in the scale development process by drawing on literature and theory, and by pre-testing items with focus groups. We used confirmatory factor analysis of two models, an intercourse involvement model and a condom use model, to assess construct validity. The final intercourse involvement model included three scales: norms about sexual intercourse, attitudes about sexual intercourse and self-efficacy in refusing sex. The final condom use model included five scales: norms about condoms, attitudes about condom use, self-efficacy in communicating about condoms, self-efficacy in buying/using condoms and barriers to condom use. After two alterations to the models, the 2 and other indices indicated that the data fit the models well. Supporting the concurrent validity of the scales, high school students who had never had sexual intercourse had more negative attitudes toward sexual intercourse among teenagers, perceived norms toward sexual intercourse among teenagers to be more negative and expressed greater self-efficacy in refusing sex than did those who had experienced sexual intercourse. Consistent condom users had more positive attitudes and norms about condoms, had higher self-efficacy in communicating about and buying/using condoms, and perceived fewer barriers to condom purchase and use than did inconsistent condom users.