A relationship-oriented model of HIV risk behavior

Date of Completion

January 2005


Psychology, Social




Even though transmission rates of HIV infection have increased steadily among heterosexual adults, current health behavior change models have not accounted for relationship-specific factors that may be involved with the virus's transmission, nor have they examined these processes statistically at the dyadic level in which these behaviors occur. The purpose of this dissertation was to develop and test a relationship-oriented theoretical model of HIV risk behavior that operates at both the individual and dyadic levels. Several theoretical models were initially tested at the individual level of analysis based on survey data collected on the Internet from men and women in intimate relationships. A reorganized version of the Information-Motivation-Behavioral skills model of HIV risk behavior (Fisher & Fisher, 1992) provided for the best fitting model, and then a multilevel structural equation model was estimated from data collected from 75 couples. Results indicated that not only did the relationship-oriented (RELO) IMB model provide the best fit for the data when analyzed at the dyadic level, but the model structure was different at both levels. The RELO IMB model is the first theoretical model of HIV risk behaviors to be analyzed at both the individual and dyadic levels, and the results suggest ways to more effectively design and evaluate intervention strategies for individuals in heterosexual relationships. ^