Introduction Worldwide, indigenous communities including American Indian(AI) youth in the United States experience poor sexual health outcomes. Inconsistent condom use among AI youth is a primary factor driving these inequalities. The Protection Motivation Theory (PMT) is valuable in explaining condom use intention (CUI) among youth and can inform the development of interventions to improve CUI and actual condom use. This analysis identifies factors of the PMT across sex and sexual experience, for predicting CUI among AI youth.
Methods 267 AIs ages 13–19 from one reservation community completed a self-report measuring sociodemographic variables, psychosocial intentions and behaviours and PMT constructs (self-efficacy, response efficacy, response cost, intrinsic reward, extrinsic reward, severity, and vulnerability). Analyses were conducted using generalised estimating equation regression models, Poisson for dichotomous.
Results Mean age was 15.1 years, 56% were girls and 22% sexually experienced. Among inexperienced youth, belief condoms prevent HIV, perceived severity of HIV and extrinsic rewards of sex were significantly associated with CUI. Among girls and boys, belief condoms prevent HIV, vulnerability to HIV and extrinsic rewards were significantly associated with CUI. Perceived severity was associated with CUI among boys and intrinsic rewards among girls.
Conclusion This is the first study to examine PMT constructs by sex and sexual experience among AI youth. Among all but sexually active youth, PMT factors were associated with CUI indicating utility for the PMT in predicting CUI among AI youth. Results indicate HIV prevention programs may be more impactful if tailored by sex and sexual experience; among AI boys and inexperienced youth, knowledge about consequences of unsafe sex may be beneficial while addressing factors associated with internal satisfaction from sexual risk behaviours may be efficacious for girls. Programs addressing factors associated with CUI by sex and sexual experience may be more efficacious in reducing risk behaviours among AI youth.