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Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública

Print version ISSN 1020-4989

Abstract

PINA LOPEZ, Julio A.; ROBLES MONTIJO, Susana  and  RIVERA ICEDO, Blanca M.. A survey instrument for evaluating psychological variables and risky sexual behavior among young adults at two university centers in Mexico. Rev Panam Salud Publica [online]. 2007, vol.22, n.5, pp. 295-303. ISSN 1020-4989.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1020-49892007001000001.

OBJECTIVES: To measure the psychometric attributes of a survey instrument designed to evaluate historical and context variables that lead to high-risk sexual behaviors among a sample of university students in Mexico. METHODS: Cross-sectional study of a sample of 1 346 university students in Mexico: 784 from the Sonora State Center for Higher Education in Hermosillo, Sonora, or 33.2% of its total enrollment; and 562 from the National Autonomous University of Mexico, at Tlalnepantla campus in Mexico State, or 23.5% of its total enrollment. The study took place in Hermosillo during the month of October 2006 and in Tlalnepantla from January to March 2006. The survey had 11 questions on sociodemographics, 7 on risky sexual behaviors, 22 on related motives, 8 on social context, and 6 on physical status prior to sexual relations. The survey was evaluated in terms of how well the questions were understood, its conceptual validity, and reliability. RESULTS: The final version of the survey instrument was composed of 44 questions. The reliability analysis produced an overall Cronbach a value of 0.821, taking into account all the variables combined and grouped by factor. Three factors were found that together accounted for 38.36% of the total variance: reasons for not using a condom in the first sexual relationship or throughout life, reasons for inconsistent use of a condom with a casual sex partner, and willingness to become sexually active and to engage in casual sex. CONCLUSIONS: The psychometric attributes of this survey instrument were found to be satisfactory. Those interested in using this instrument should become familiar with the theoretical model on which it is based, since understanding the results depends on properly defining the historical and context variables, and their interaction.

Keywords : Sexual behavior; risk taking; unsafe sex; Mexico.

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