Norms, attitudes, and sex behaviors among women with incarcerated main partners

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13 Scopus citations


Incarceration has been extensively linked with HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STIs). While a great deal of attention has been given to the risk behaviors of people who have been incarcerated, examination of the behaviors of partners of incarcerated individuals is also needed to understand the direct and indirect links between incarceration and HIV and to identify prevention avenues. In the present study, we hypothesize that incarceration is associated with risk behavior through attitudes and norms. The purpose of this paper is: (1) to describe the attitudes and norms about sexual behaviors that women have when a sexual partner is incarcerated; and (2) to examine the association between attitudes and norms with the behavior of having other sex partners while a main partner is incarcerated. In our sample (n=175), 50 % of women reported having other sex partners while their partner was incarcerated. Our findings show that attitudes, descriptive norms (i.e., norms about what other people do), and injunctive norms (i.e., norms about what others think is appropriate) were associated with having other partners. Interventions designed for couples at pre- and post-release from prison are needed to develop risk reduction plans and encourage HIV/STI testing prior to their reunion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1151-1165
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Urban Health
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2013


  • HIV
  • Incarceration
  • Norms
  • Women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Urban Studies
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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