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Romance and Risk: Romantic Attraction and Health Risks in the Process of Relationship Formation
Unformatted Document Text:  19 attracted to that partner. Unfortunately, it must be recognized that this latter finding is only correlational and thus, it may also be indicating that the more one is attracted to a person with a “risky” feature, the less likely one is to view that person as presenting a health risk. For example, the more one is attracted to a person who “wants to spend exciting nights together” or who “uses drugs occasionally”, the less one is likely to see that person as a threat to their sexual health. While this study has confirmed a negative relationship between attractiveness and risk, it does not tell us whether judgments of attraction or risk “come first.” Equally important, one must ask how physical attractiveness influences the degree to which a given feature is viewed as attractive or risky. That is, if a potential romantic partner is physically “beautiful” or “handsome”, is one more or less likely to see that person’s “occasional drug use” as risky (or attractive)? Indeed, while the present study was primarily concerned with seeing whether individual attributes were indicative of risk and/or attraction, predicting how people arrive at a judgment that a given person may put them at risk for HIV and other STD’s will require an understanding of the way in which sets of aspects are combined to make an overall judgment of riskiness or attractiveness. Given that people are much more likely to engage in unprotected sex with people they view as “safe” than with those they view as “risky”,

Authors: Johnson, Brenda., Fishbein, Martin., Hennessy, Michael. and Yzer, Marcus.
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attracted to that partner. Unfortunately, it must be recognized
that this latter finding is only correlational and thus, it may
also be indicating that the more one is attracted to a person with
a “risky” feature, the less likely one is to view that person as
presenting a health risk. For example, the more one is attracted
to a person who “wants to spend exciting nights together” or who
“uses drugs occasionally”, the less one is likely to see that
person as a threat to their sexual health.
While this study has confirmed a negative relationship
between attractiveness and risk, it does not tell us whether
judgments of attraction or risk “come first.” Equally important,
one must ask how physical attractiveness influences the degree to
which a given feature is viewed as attractive or risky. That is,
if a potential romantic partner is physically “beautiful” or
“handsome”, is one more or less likely to see that person’s
“occasional drug use” as risky (or attractive)? Indeed, while the
present study was primarily concerned with seeing whether
individual attributes were indicative of risk and/or attraction,
predicting how people arrive at a judgment that a given person may
put them at risk for HIV and other STD’s will require an
understanding of the way in which sets of aspects are combined to
make an overall judgment of riskiness or attractiveness. Given
that people are much more likely to engage in unprotected sex with
people they view as “safe” than with those they view as “risky”,


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