The effects of psychological inoculation on condom use tendencies and barriers; a randomized controlled trial

Einav Levy, Lisa M. Warner, Lena Fleig, Michelle R. Kaufman, Reginald Deschepper, Yori Gidron

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Condom use prevents the contraction of the HIV. Research shows limited effects of education on increasing condom use. Psychological inoculation (PI) has been found to be more effective in this domain, however, its mechanism is unknown. This study examined effects of PI versus education on condom use barriers and tendencies, and its relations with cognitive dissonance, using a fully automatized online system. Design: The study was a randomized controlled trial (RCT) and included 149 students from a German University randomly assigned to PI or a control condition. Main outcome measures: An indirect condom use test (I-CUTE), a condom use barriers questionnaire, self-reported condom use, and cognitive dissonance estimations were all assessed at baseline and one-month post-intervention. Results: PI significantly increased I-CUTE scores when participants had sexual relations. Control participants increased in self-reported condom use and on I-CUTE scores in people without sexual relations. No changes in barriers were seen in either group. The cognitive dissonance tended to be higher in PI participants as compared to control participants. Conclusions: PI increases I-CUTE scores compared to controls (based on effect sizes), and significantly in those with sexual relations. The role of relationship status and the mechanisms of PI should be further examined.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)575-592
Number of pages18
JournalPsychology and Health
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • Condom use barriers
  • HIV
  • RCT
  • cognitive dissonance
  • intervention
  • psychological inoculation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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