The Role of Fear in Predicting Sexually Transmitted Infection Screening

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Objective: This study assessed the extent to which social-cognitive factors (attitude, subjective norm and perceived control) and the fear of a positive test result predict sexually transmitted infection (STI) screening intentions and subsequent behaviour. Design: Study 1 (N = 85) used a longitudinal design to assess the factors that predict STI screening intention and future screening behaviour measured one month later at Time 2. Study 2 (N = 102) used an experimental design to determine whether the relationship between fear and screening varied depending on whether STI or HIV screening was being assessed both before and after controlling for social-cognitive factors. Main Outcome Measures: Across the studies the outcome measures were sexual health screening. Results: In both studies, the fear of having an STI positively predicted STI screening intention. In Study 1, fear, but not the social-cognitive factors, also predicted subsequent STI screening behaviour. In Study 2, the fear of having HIV did not predict HIV screening intention, but attitude negatively and response efficacy positively predicted screening intention. Conclusion: This study highlights the importance of considering the nature of the health condition when assessing the role of fear on health promotion.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)876-894
JournalPsychology & Health
Issue number7
Early online date28 Mar 2017
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 28 Mar 2017


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