The culture of condoms: Culturally grounded variables and their association with attitudes to condoms

C Liddell, Melanie Giles, Gordon Rae

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To examine attitudes toward condoms and their association, with culturally grounded beliefs among young South African adults. Methods: A questionnaire survey undertaken in three different locations (urban, rural, and mixed), including I 100 participants, and implementing both a cross-validational and a bootstrap multivariate design. Outcome measures were intention to use a condom at next sex and condom salience (i.e., confidence in the protective value of condoms). Culturally grounded predictors included traditional beliefs about illness, beliefs in ancestral protection, endorsement of AIDS myths, and mortality salience (CONTACT). Results: Participants exhibited strong endorsement of indigenous beliefs about illness and ancestral protection, and moderate endorsement of AIDS myths. Participants who viewed condoms as important for HIV prevention were more likely to show strong endorsement of both beliefs in ancestral protection and traditional beliefs about illness. Participants who strongly endorsed AIDS myths viewed condoms as less important and also had lower intention to use scores. Finally, participants who knew HIV positive people, and/or people who had died of HIV-related illnesses, had higher condom salience and higher intention to use scores. Conclusions: Results challenge the assumption that culturally grounded variables are inherently adversarial in their relationship to biomedical models of HIV prevention, and offer insights into how traditional beliefs and cultural constructions of HIV/AIDS might be used more effectively in HIV education programs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)496-504
JournalPsychosomatic Medicine
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - May 2008


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