Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Program Name/Specialization

Community Psychology


Faculty of Science

First Advisor

Colleen Loomis

Advisor Role

Thesis Supervisor


The promotion of simultaneous condom and hormonal contraceptive use is an imperative given increasing rates of sexually transmitted infections and patterns of sexual behaviour in Canada. Previous research has shown that few adolescents engage in dual protection due to a number of barriers including attitudes and beliefs about sexual health risk. These attitudes and beliefs are shaped by key sexual health referents including parents, friends, educators, health care providers, and sexual partners. This study investigated how these sources influence information, motivation and behavioural skills (IMB) that lead to dual protection. Attitudes and beliefs are shaped by information and motivation from others as well as sexual health skills learned. In a sample of 875 first and second year undergraduate university students, 52% of students reported being sexually active. From this group, a sample (N=333) completed three modified sexual health/behaviour surveys (Hampton, Jeffery, McWatters, & Smith, 2005; Misovich, Fisher, & Fisher, 1998; Sangi-Haghpeykar, Posner, & Poindexter, 2005) that assessed dual protection behaviours, sources of report (e.g., parents, friends, etc.) for IMB messages, and IMB scores. Forty-three percent of participants engaged in consistent dual protection, 17% engaged in inconsistent dual protection and 40% engaged in no dual protection behaviour. Three research questions were posed: 1) Does the content of IMB messages differ among sexual health referents?; 2) Does the form of message differ among sexual health referents?; and 3) What is the impact of IMB on dual protection behaviour? To test the research questions, chi-squared tests and a multiple regression analysis were computed. Both the content and form of message were found to differ by sexual health referents. Adult referents were more likely to provide pregnancy prevention messages and informational messages rather than adolescent referents. Adolescent referents were more likely to provide motivational messages than adults. Only motivation scores were found to predict dual protection behaviour; both information and behavioural skills were non-significant. A significant effect was detected F (1, 318) = 59.57, p < .001 with the motivation score account for 16% of the variance in the dual protection behaviour score. Findings have implications for the creation of programs and interventiosn directed at sexual health referents to shape adolescents’ IMB and promote dual protection.

Convocation Year