Does sexual self-concept ambiguity moderate relations among perceived peer norms for alcohol use, alcohol-dependence symptomatology, and HIV risk- taking behavior?

Amelia E. Talley, Jennifer L. Brown, Angela K. Stevens, Andrew K. Littlefield

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: The current study examines the relation between peer descriptive norms for alcohol involvement and alcohol-dependence symptomatology and whether this relation differs as a function of sexual self-concept ambiguity (SSA). This study also examines the associations among peer descriptive norms for alcohol involvement, alcohol-dependence symptomatology, and lifetime HIV risk-taking behavior and how these relations are influenced by SSA.

Method: Women between ages 18 and 30 years (N = 351; M = 20.96, SD = 2.92) completed an online survey assessing sexual self-concept, peer descriptive norms, alcohol-dependence symptomatology, and HIV risk-taking behaviors. Structural equation modeling was used to test hypotheses of interest.

Results: There was a significant latent variable interaction between SSA and descriptive norms for peer alcohol use. There was a stronger positive relationship between peer descriptive norms for alcohol and alcohol-dependence symptomatology when SSA was higher compared with when SSA was lower. Both latent variables exhibited positive simple associations with alcohol-dependence symptoms. Peer descriptive norms for alcohol involvement directly and indirectly influenced HIV risk-taking behaviors, and the indirect influence was conditional based on SSA.

Conclusions: The current findings illustrate complex, nuanced associations between perceived norms, identity-related self-concepts, and risky health behaviors from various domains. Future intervention efforts may be warranted to address both problem alcohol use and HIV-risk engagement among individuals with greater sexual self-concept ambiguity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1023-1031
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs
Volume75
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2014

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