Date of Award

Spring 2000

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)



Committee Director

Constance J. Pilkington

Committee Director

Neill Watson

Committee Member

Valerian J. Derlaga

Committee Member

Barbara Winstead

Committee Member

Gregory J. Feist


Thirty-seven female and 30 male heterosexual undergraduates responded first to vignettes of sexual behavior in which they were asked to describe the partners' behaviors using their own personal constructs and using the researcher-provided constructs safe sex, unsafe sex, intimate, and impersonal; participants then responded to questions about condom use. Sixty-one percent of participants reported using condoms at least 75% of the time, and 64% reported use on last intercourse. Women reported a higher percentage of intercourse without condoms than did men. Within-subject principal components analysis was used to identify the extent to which an individual's personal constructs loaded on factors defined by safe sex and unsafe sex. These loadings were not related to reported condom use, failing to support the hypothesis that the presence of a safe-sex factor in an individual's personal construct system is related to condom use. Similarly, stronger within-subject positive correlations between unsafe sex and intimate and between safe sex and intimate also were not related to reports of more frequent condom use. In a multiple regression equation, gender and the correlations between unsafe sex and intimate, safe sex and intimate, unsafe sex and impersonal , and safe sex and impersonal predicted 14% of the variance in reported condom use.


A Dissertation Submitted to the Faculties of The College of William and Mary, Eastern Virginia Medical School, Norfolk State University, and Old Dominion University in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology through the Virginia Consortium Program in Clinical Psychology.