Working memory moderates the association between condom use intentions and behavior among moderate-to-heavy drinking men who have sex with men

  • K. D. TahaneyEmail author
  • T. P. Palfai
  • P. Luehring-Jones
  • S. A. Maisto
  • J. S. Simons
Brief Report


Men who have sex with men (MSM) are a high-risk population for HIV infection and this risk is increased for those who consume alcohol. Condomless anal intercourse (CAI) is the central transmission risk factor for this population. This study examined whether individual differences in working memory moderated the association between intentions to use condoms and the frequency of CAI among MSM who engaged in anal intercourse over a subsequent 6-week period. Moderate- and heavy-drinking MSM (n = 207) completed questionnaires regarding alcohol use and condom use intentions and an operation span task to assess working memory at baseline. Participants then completed 6 weeks of morning surveys via a mobile phone app to assess anal intercourse frequency with and without condoms. Negative binomial regression analyses showed that the association between intentions to use condoms and episodes of CAI during the monitoring period was moderated by working memory such that intentions predicted CAI for those high in working memory but not those low in working memory. These results support the view that self-reported intentions may be less-likely to translate into health behaviors among those with poorer executive functioning skills.



This study was supported by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism of the National Institute of Health under the award number R01AA022301.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

Kelli Tahaney, Tibor Palfai, Peter Luehring-Jones, Stephen Maisto, and Jeffrey Simons declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all patients for being included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychological and Brain SciencesBoston UniversityBostonUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologySyracuse UniversitySyracuseUSA
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyUniversity of South DakotaVermillionUSA

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