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Javier SJ, Abrams JA, Moore MP, Belgrave FZ. Change in Risk Perceptions and Marijuana and Cigarette Use Among African American Young Adult Females in an HIV Prevention Intervention. Journal of racial and ethnic health disparities. 2017 Dec 1; 4(6):1083-1091.
Cigarette smoking and marijuana use have been tied to increased risky sexual behaviors, which may exacerbate risk of HIV transmission and other STIs (sexually transmitted infections). Research suggests that change in general perceptions of risk is associated with change in non-domain-targeted behaviors. The goal of the current study was to determine whether change in general risk perceptions among African American college females enrolled in a culturally-tailored HIV prevention intervention would be associated with decreased cigarette and marijuana use over time. Data were collected from 108 women enrolled in the SISTA Project intervention at a large university at baseline, post-test, and 3-month follow-up. Results from moderation analyses indicated that change in risk perceptions moderated the relationship between past 30-day cigarette use at baseline and past 30-day cigarette use at both post-test and at 3-month follow-up. Change in risk-perceptions also moderated the relationship between past 30-day marijuana use at baseline and past 30-day marijuana use at 3-month follow-up. Implications of the study indicate that heightening risk perceptions in any one area may impact behavior via specific and general increases in self-efficacy and motivation to reduce health risks more generally.