Remembering the Message: The Use of a Reminder Cue to Increase Condom Use Following a Safer Sex Intervention

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Condom use interventions may be more powerful if they provide cues to recall safe-sex messages when sexual activity occurs. The authors tested this notion by assigning sexually active introductory psychology students (N = 196) to a standard safe-sex intervention, a safe-sex with reminder intervention, or a control (drinking and driving) intervention. Participants assigned to the reminder intervention were given a “friendship bracelet” to wear and were instructed to have the bracelet remind them of the intervention. In a follow-up session (5–7 weeks later), they were asked questions pertaining to condom use. Of the 125 participants who had engaged in sexual intercourse, condom use at last intercourse was higher in the bracelet condition (55%) than in the standard (27%) or control (36%) conditions. The authors also found that the bracelet remained effective, even when participants were under the influence of alcohol. These findings therefore imply that health intervention programs may be more efficacious if they include strategies such as reminder cues to increase the salience of health information in the appropriate contexts.

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