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Romance and Risk: Romantic Attraction and Health Risks in the Process of Relationship Formation
Unformatted Document Text:  2 explain the lack of relationship between perceived risk and condom use, some authors raise questions about measurement (e.g., Poppen & Reisen, 1997; Weinstein & Nicolich, 1993). Reisen and Poppen (1999) suggested the use of a specific, partner-based risk measure (i.e., how likely is it that you will contract AIDS from your current partner?) instead of a global risk measure (i.e., how likely is it that you will contract AIDS in the future?). They argued that one’s own risk perceptions and behaviors can vary with the perceptions of one’s partner being high or low risk. In contrast, Rosenstock, Strecher and Becker (1994) suggested that measures of risk should have behavioral anchors. That is, rather than simply assessing the likelihood that one will “get” AIDS (or some other disease) in general or from a specific partner, the risk question should be tied to a specific behavior. Consistent with this, Fishbein and Jarvis (2000) found that the stronger one’s belief that unprotected sex with their partner puts one at risk for HIV, the more likely is one to always use a condom with that partner. They also found that while condom use was essentially unrelated to STD incidence among those with “low risk” partners, correct and consistent condom use with “risky” partners did significantly reduce STD incidence. These findings suggest that people may, to some extent, be accurate in judging their partner’s risk status. In fact, other research shows that on an ordinal level, people are fairly accurate judges of their own general risk of acquiring AIDS,

Authors: Johnson, Brenda., Fishbein, Martin., Hennessy, Michael. and Yzer, Marcus.
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explain the lack of relationship between perceived risk and condom
use, some authors raise questions about measurement (e.g., Poppen
& Reisen, 1997; Weinstein & Nicolich, 1993). Reisen and Poppen
(1999) suggested the use of a specific, partner-based risk measure
(i.e., how likely is it that you will contract AIDS from your
current partner?) instead of a global risk measure (i.e., how
likely is it that you will contract AIDS in the future?). They
argued that one’s own risk perceptions and behaviors can vary with
the perceptions of one’s partner being high or low risk. In
contrast, Rosenstock, Strecher and Becker (1994) suggested that
measures of risk should have behavioral anchors. That is, rather
than simply assessing the likelihood that one will “get” AIDS (or
some other disease) in general or from a specific partner, the
risk question should be tied to a specific behavior. Consistent
with this, Fishbein and Jarvis (2000) found that the stronger
one’s belief that unprotected sex with their partner puts one at
risk for HIV, the more likely is one to always use a condom with
that partner. They also found that while condom use was
essentially unrelated to STD incidence among those with “low risk”
partners, correct and consistent condom use with “risky” partners
did significantly reduce STD incidence.
These findings suggest that people may, to some extent, be
accurate in judging their partner’s risk status. In fact, other
research shows that on an ordinal level, people are fairly
accurate judges of their own general risk of acquiring AIDS,


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