Exploring the Relationship Between Socioeconomic Status and Cognitions in Modelling Antecedents of Condom use

  • C. Abraham
  • P. Sheeran
  • M. Henderson


The potential of measures of socioeconomic status, gender and educational/lifestyle aspirations to enhance the predictive utility of a theory of planned behaviour model of condom use was assessed. Analyses of survey data from 824 sexually active sixteen year olds tested three hypotheses. First, social structure measures will correlate with behaviour-specific cognitions that predict condom use. Second, cognition measures will not fully mediate the effects of social structural indices and, third, the effects of cognitions on condom use will be moderated by social structure indices. All three hypotheses were supported. Socioeconomic status, gender and aspirations accounted for between 2% and 7% of the variance in behaviour-specific cognitions predicting condom use. Aspirations explained a further 4% of the variance in condom use, controlling for cognition effects. Mother’s socioeconomic status and gender added an additional 5%, controlling for aspirations. Overall, including significant moderation effects, of social structure indices increased the variance explained from 20.5% (for cognition measures alone) to 31%. Social structure measures should to be investigated in addition to cognitions when modelling antecedents of behavior.