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Proportion of persons at high risk for STDs by marital status and gender, 1994. High risk was defined as having at least two of the following: (a) six or more sex partners in lifetime, (b) partners who have had sex with six or more people or have no knowledge of their partners' sexual history, or (c) more than one sex partner in the past year. Moderate risk was defined as having one of these characteristics. SOURCE: EDK Associates, Inc. The ABCs of STDs. New York: EDK Associates, 1995.
expectancies in social learning theory (Bandura, 1977). All of these models predict that behavior change will be greater when individuals perceive that they are at risk of infection and that the behavior being recommended will reduce that risk. In addition to the reasons mentioned previously for why individuals fail to adopt protective behaviors, there are other explanations for why the association between perceived risk and protective behaviors is weak.
Link Between Perceived Risk and Protective Behaviors
Given the centrality of perceived risk to the theoretical models as well as to many intervention programs, it is surprising that the empirical evidence linking