Condom failure: Examining the objective and cultural meanings expressed in interviews with African American adolescents

Sharon R. Sznitman, Jennifer Horner, Laura F. Salazar, Daniel Romer, Peter A. Vanable, Michael P. Carey, Ralph J. Diclemente, Robert F. Valois, Bonita F. Stanton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The purpose of this study was to explore the meaning and context of self-reported "condom failure" among sexually active African American adolescents. Semistructured interviews regarding methods of protection from pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease (STD) with 124 youth (ages 14-19 years) were content analyzed. The findings suggested three meanings of condom failure. First, condom failure represents a legitimate and important risk related to sexual activity. Second, it can serve as an excuse repertoire for adolescents who engaged in unprotected sex and later experienced either pregnancy or a STD. Third, it may serve as an explanation for males who deceive their partners into having unprotected sex. The findings are discussed with regard to their implications for HIV or STD prevention and research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)309-318
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Sex Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2009
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was conducted through the iMPPACS network (a multicity program in Macon, Providence, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Columbia, and Syracuse) supported by the National Institute of Mental Health (Pim Brouwers, project officer) at the following sites and local contributors: Columbia, SC (U01 MH66802—Robert F. Valois, [Principal Investigator (PI)]; Naomi B. Farber); Macon, GA (MH066807— Ralph DiClemente [PI], Gina M. Wingood, Laura F. Salazar, Pamela J. Fleischauer; interviewers: Tekla Evans & Philip Williams); Philadelphia, PA (U01-MH066809—Daniel Romer [PI], Michael Hennessey, Bonita Stanton, Jennifer Horner, Sharon R. Sznitman); Providence, RI (U01-MH-066785—Larry K. Brown [PI]); Syracuse, NY (U01-MH-66794—Peter A. Vanable [PI], Michael P. Carey, Rebecca Bost-wick; interviewers: Tanesha Cameron & Larry Hammonds).

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology
  • Gender Studies
  • History and Philosophy of Science
  • Sociology and Political Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Condom failure: Examining the objective and cultural meanings expressed in interviews with African American adolescents'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this