Investigating the structure and form of condom decisional balance in an alternative school sample using confirmatory factor analysis
Teen pregnancy is a continuing problem, bringing with it a host of associated health and social risks. Alternative school students are especially at risk, but are historically under-represented in research. This is especially problematic in that instruments are needed to guide effective intervention development, but psychometrics for these instruments cannot be assumed when used in new populations. Decisional balance from the transtheoretical model offers a framework for understanding condom decision making, but has not been tested with alternative school students. Using responses from 640 subjects from Safer Choices 2 (a school-based HIV/STD/pregnancy prevention program implemented in 10 urban, southwestern alternative schools), a decisional balance scale for condom use was examined. A two-factor, mildly correlated model fit the data well. Tests of invariance examined scale functioning within gender and racial/ethnic groups. The underlying structure varied slightly based on subgroup, but on a practical level the impact on the use of scales was minimal. The structure and loadings were invariant across experimental condition. The pro scale was associated with a lower probability of having engaged in unprotected sexual behavior for sexually active subjects, and this association remained significant while controlling for demographic variables. The con scale did not show a significant association with engagement in unprotected sexual behaviors. Limitations and directions for future research were also discussed.
0573: Public health