REFERENCE: Hovell, M.F., Sipan, C. L., Blumberg, E. J., Rodriguez, G. B., Kelley, N. (1997). Enhancing HIV prevention skills of separated/divorced women. Presented at the National Conference on Women & HIV, Los Angeles, CA, May 4-7, 1997.

Objectives: The primary aims of this 2-year study are: 1) to assess the level of condom negotiation and other assertive skills in divorced latina and anglo women; and 2) to test a behavioral rehearsal intervention by assessing differential change in trained women's skill levels relative to didactic training controls.

Methods: A sample of 107 Latina and anglo women, ages 18 to 49 who experienced separation or divorce within the last 6 to 18 months completed a baseline interview and videotaped roleplay test and were randomly assigned to either ten hours of social skills training or didactic training. Targeted AIDS assertiveness skills included Condom Use Negotiation, Talking to a Friend About His/Her Risk Practices, and Introducing AIDS as a Concern in an Existing Relationship. Post-test and 4 month follow-up measures assessed training effects using repeated measures ANOVA to determine differential change in assertive skills. Following completion of data collection in March, 1997 exploratory analyses of correlates of risk practices will be assessed using multiple linear regression or multiple logistic regression for continuous and categorical variables, respectively.

Results: Preliminary results are available for 58 subjects with a mean age of 35.3 yrs. 23.2% reported extramarital vaginal intercourse during the marriage/live-in relationship excluding 1 year before separation, 70% of whom reported using condoms less than half the time or never. 5.5% reported extramarital anal intercourse with no condom use. For the year prior to separation, 19.3% reported extramarital vaginal intercourse, 3.5% reported extramarital anal intercourse, and condom use patterns were comparable to those reported above. However, during the first 6 to 18 months after separation, 75.9% reported vaginal intercourse; 36.8 reported more than 1 partner. 53.5% of subjects reporting vaginal intercourse since separation never used condoms. 19.3% reported anal intercourse since separation, 70% of whom never used condoms for anal intercourse. ANOVA results on pre- and post-tests indicated a significant increase in skill level of social skills training subjects (n=28) compared with didactic training subjects (n=27) for the anxiety (p<.01), assertiveness (p<.01), and content (p<.01) domains of the Condom Use Negotiation skill; the anxiety domain (p<.05) of the Talking to a Friend About His/Her Risk Practices skill; and the anxiety (p<.01), assertiveness (p<.001), and content (p<.01) domains of the Introducing AIDS as a Concern in an Existing Relationship skill. Conclusions: Preliminary results indicate a significant level of sexual risk behaviors for women experiencing separation/divorce. There is also evidence of significant increase in risk reduction skills following social skills training. Follow-up outcomes for post-training risk behaviors will also be reported.


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