Sexual Risk Behavior of Ship and Shore Based Women


Name: Elizabeth Abel


Organization: The University of Texas at Austin

Performance Site: The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX

Year Published: 1993

Abstract Status: Initial


Human immunodeficiency virus and other sexually transmitted diseases (HIV/STDs) and unintended pregnancy have been linked to a variety of costly health problems, both in financial and human terms. The mortality from HIV infections, the morbidity related to STDs (ectopic pregnancy, infertility, cervicitis, cervical cancer, conjunctivitis and pneumonia), and the complications from unintended pregnancies (low birth weight babies, premature labor) are National health promotion and disease prevention priorities. Risk reduction efforts focus on understanding behaviors which influence safer sex practices, such as the use of condoms. Similar to the civilian sector, unintended pregnancies of active duty women have been found to be related to adverse perinatal outcomes such as low birth weight babies, cesarean sections, and hypertensive syndromes. Research related to sexual risk behaviors among civilian as well as military women had been limited to adolescent and young women (usually 22 years) outside of these settings. The purpose of this study is to examine the factors influencing the choices that active duty Navy women make that place them at risk for HIV infection, STDs, and unintended pregnancy. This study will examine whether there are differences in the sexual risk behavior of active duty Navy women aged 18 to 44 years assigned to a ship based command or a shore based command. Cox's Interactive Model of Client Health Behavior provides the organizing framework for this study. Cognitive, affective, motivation and background variables (demographic, social, environmental, and previous health care experience) will be evaluated in relation to the health outcome of condom use. A cluster sample of at least 300 women will be selected from the ship and shore based commands at a southeastern naval base. Data will be collected using the Coopersmith Self-Esteem Inventory (25 items), the Problem Solving Inventory (32 items), the modified Health Self-Determination Index (17 items), and modified sexual history form. The data will be analyzed using descriptive and multivariate statistics. Before prevention programs can be considered, it is essential to understand why women practice behaviors that place them at risk for HIV/STDs or unintended pregnancy. The findings from this study will provide knowledge of the factors which influence safer sex among active duty Navy women.