Evaluation of the Condom Barriers Scale for Young Black Men Who Have Sex With Men: Reliability and Validity of 3 Subscales

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Reliable and valid scale measures of barriers to condom use are not available for young black men who have sex with men (YBMSM). The purpose of this study was to evaluate the Condom Barriers Scales for application with YBMSM.


A clinic-based sample of 600 YBMSM completed a computer-assisted self-interview. The primary measure was a 14-item abbreviated version of the Condom Barriers Scale. Reliability and criterion validity were assessed.


All 3 subscales were reliable: partner-related barriers (Cronbach α=0.73), sensation-related barriers (α=0.70), and motivation-related barriers (α =0.81). A complete absence of barriers was common: 47.0% (partner-related), 30.7% (sensation-related), and 46.5% (motivation-related). Dichotomized subscales were significantly associated with reporting any condomless insertive anal sex (all Ps < 0.001) and any condomless receptive anal sex (all Ps < 0.001). The subscales were significantly associated with these measures of condomless sex preserved at a continuous level (all Ps <0.001, except for sensation barriers associated with condomless receptive anal sex = 0.03). Further, the subscales were significantly associated with reporting any condom use problems (all Ps <0.001) and a measure of condomless oral sex (all Ps <0.001, except for partner-related barriers=0.31). Finally, the sensation-related barriers subscale was significantly associated with testing positive for Chlamydia and/or gonorrhea (P=0.049).


The 3 identified subscales yielded adequate reliability and strong evidence of validity, thereby suggesting the utility of these brief measures for use in observational and experimental research with YBMSM.

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