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Sexual scripts are widely shared gender and culture-specific guides for sexual behavior with important implications for HIV prevention. Although several qualitative studies document how sexual scripts may influence sexual risk behaviors, quantitative investigations of sexual scripts in the context of sexual risk are rare. This mixed methods study involved the qualitative development and quantitative testing of the Sexual Scripts Scale SSS. Study 1 included qualitative semi-structured interviews with 30 Black heterosexual men about sexual experiences with main and casual sex partners to develop the SSS.

Study 2 included a quantitative test of the SSS with predominantly low-income Black heterosexual men. Cultural scenarios reflect culturally shared social norms and values e. Interpersonal scripts inform sexual interactions with regard to how partners interpret cultural scenarios. Although Simon and Gagnon theorized three levels of sexual scripts, most of the sexual scripts literature has focused on traditional interpersonal sexual scripts for heterosexual interactions Seal et al.

Thus, the three script levels may interact to produce sexual behaviors. Similar to norms for any behavior, scripts may change over time both individually and collectively. As such, sexual scripts theory and research have important implication for HIV prevention.

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Informed by sexual scripts theory, numerous qualitative studies have documented how sexual scripts may influence sexual risk for U. There is, however, a dearth of sexual scripts research focused on Black heterosexual men. Epidemiological data highlight the stark racial disparity in HIV incidence due to heterosexual exposure among men. There is also evidence of a generalized HIV epidemic i.

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Thus, HIV prevention efforts focused on Black heterosexual men have important implications not only for Black men, but also their female sexual partners. We are aware of just four HIV prevention-related sexual scripts studies focused on samples of predominantly or exclusively Black heterosexual men, all of them qualitative. The study found that many participants reported a tension between their desires for emotional intimacy and sexual pleasure with women.

The third study involved interviews with predominantly Black community-based low-income heterosexual couples to examine interpersonal and intrapsychic sexual scripts about their sexual experiences Seal et al. Traditional interpersonal scripts, reflected in narratives in which men initiated or controlled sexual encounters, were most prevalent in couples with a Black male partner. Finally, a qualitative sexual scripts study with a predominantly low-income sample of Black heterosexual men highlighted cultural scenarios San Jose black sex encounter interpersonal scripts for men who reported engaging in high i.

In contrast to the men classified as high risk, men in the low risk group were more likely to articulate alternative scripts e. Although these four qualitative studies highlight the diversity of interpersonal sexual scripts among diverse samples of low-income Black heterosexual men, they also exemplify the advantages of qualitative methods for highlighting the context, nuances, and complexities of psychosocial phenomena like sexual scripts. Quantitative methods, in contrast, are ideally suited for testing hypothesized relationships between sexual scripts and sexual risk behaviors.

Yet, few quantitative studies have focused on sexual scripts and sexual risk behaviors. The first study examined the interpersonal sexual scripts of a predominantly White sample of Canadian college undergraduates and found that when sexual attitudes were controlled for, women who endorsed more traditional interpersonal sexual scripts as measured by their completion of an essay in which they imagined what happened up to the point that a young heterosexual couple had sex reported less positive attitudes about condoms and were less likely to report condom use compared with those who endorsed more non-traditional relational sexual scripts Hynie et al.

The second quantitative study examined the sexual scripts typically portrayed in romance novels by assessing the reading habits of a predominantly White sample of undergraduate women and found that women who romance novels reported less favorable attitudes towards condoms than those who reported reading fewer romance novels Diekman et al. These two studies indicate how few quantitative studies have focused on sexual scripts, particularly among Black heterosexual men.

They also highlight a critical gap in the sexual scripts and HIV prevention literature: the absence of validated quantitative sexual script measures. This mixed methods study addresses San Jose black sex encounter gap with the development and test of the Sexual Scripts Scale SSS with a predominantly low-income sample of Black heterosexual men in Philadelphia. Studies have documented how cultural scenario scripts, such as gender ideologies e. Our goal was to develop a scale to assess the behavioral manifestations of sexual scripts.

Study 1, the measurement development phase, involved individual interviews with 30 Black heterosexual men to gain a culturally-specific understanding of the sexual scripts relevant to sexual behaviors with main and casual partners. Study 2, the reliability and initial validity-testing phase, tested the SSS with a sample of Black heterosexual men. Study 2 utilized factor analysis to assess the structure of the SSS. We also expected that men who reported more nontraditional sexual scripts such as those characterized by sexual egalitarianism or relational aspects e. Demographic characteristics of the sample are shown in Table 2.

We recruited Study 1 participants from randomly selected venues e.

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We enrolled all eligible participants until we met our targeted sample size of The study used a standardized open-ended interview also known as a semi-structured interview approach in which interviewers posed questions to participants using the same wording and sequence Patton, These included gender role norms, sexual relationships, gender role stress, religiosity and spirituality, and sexual scripts.

The majority of the interview guide focused on sexual scripts. Two trained Black male interviewers conducted the face-to-face, digitally recorded individual interviews in private offices at Drexel University. When was that? What happened? Interviewers then asked about the last time participants had sex with their main partner.

For participants reporting more than one partner, the interviewer asked the same series of questions about the first and last time they had sex with their other sex partners, as time allowed. For all partners, interviewers asked about sexual initiation, sexual behaviors, alcohol and marijuana use during sex, condom use, communication about condoms, and where sex typically happens.

Interviews ranged in length from 45 to 90 minutes. After the interview, participants completed a brief self-administered demographic questionnaire. Interviews were professionally transcribed and edited to remove identifiers. After multiple readings, the transcripts were imported into Nvivo 9. The first and fourth author and a trained graduate research assistant coded all of the data independently.

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We created a preliminary codebook that included a priori coding based on key themes in the study interview guide. Coders met weekly to discuss and compare coding. During these meetings, we assessed agreement of codingcodes, revised the codebook accordingly, and recoded transcripts to ensure that they reflected the newly emergent codes about which we agreed. We conducted all of our checks of coding consistency verbally and reached consensus through discussion.

As coding progressed, we developed more refined hierarchical sub. This involved the use of several qualitative analytical tactics see Richards,pp. To develop the items for the SSS, the coding team distilled the coded text into phrase codes, brief phrases of text that reflected the themes developed from the qualitative analysis. We disseminated the list of phrase codes to members of the research team. The team met regularly by conference call to discuss the phrase codes and to develop items based on these codes for the SSS.

The team decided to omit slang to ensure that the developed items would be comprehensible to a general audience. In order to develop Likert-type response options that would facilitate statistical analyses, the team framed the items in terms of frequency e. We disseminated the created lists to all team members. We discussed and resolved all disagreements until we reached consensus on a final list of 49 items that we used to develop the SSS. Recruitment procedures are described in detail in Massie et al. We defined as heterosexual men those who reported that they had had vaginal sex with a woman in the last 2 months, who self-identified as heterosexual, and who reported that they had not had sex with a man within the last 2 months.

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We eliminated data from 42 men who reported no occasions of vaginal sex in the last 2 months, 8 men who reported a sexual orientation status other than heterosexual, and 2 men who reported only anal sex to obtain a final sample size of Based on the qualitative sexual script findings, we developed a total of 49 items for the SSS. The descriptive statistics for the SSS subscales are included in Table 4.

Thus, the dependent variable includes information on unprotected vaginal sex and monogamy. We used factor analysis San Jose black sex encounter explore the underlying dimensions of the 49 sexual scripts items. Prior to conducting the final factor analysis, the team decided to drop 13 items that the sample did not widely endorse e. After conducting the factor analysis, we dropped two items that cross-loaded on two different factors.

This resulted in 34 items. Three percent of the sample had missing values on two items. None of the other items had missing data. In light of the small percentage of missing data, we replaced missing values with the sample mean for each of those two items. All factor analyses San Jose black sex encounter conducted using SAS Version 9. This macro can generate a correlation matrix that s for the ordinal nature of the data. Since there was no theoretical reason to expect that factors would be uncorrelated, we used oblique rotation.

Finally, we examined correlations between sexual scripts subscales, demographic variables, and sexual HIV risk behavior to establish initial predictive validity for the subscales. A total of men were in both groups i. Examination of 6, 7, and 8-factor solutions indicated that the 7-factor solution achieved the best in terms of conceptual match with the qualitative data, high factor loadings, and minimal s of cross-loaded items.

The seven resulting sexual scripts subscales are shown in Table 4. Items in each subscale were averaged to form the subscale scores; higher scores represented more endorsement of the particular script. Scores could range from 1 to 5. Higher scores on the Romantic Intimacy Scripts scale represent more romantic or emotionally intimate behaviors with partners. Higher scores on the Condom Scripts scale represent more communication about condom use.

Higher scores on the Alcohol Scripts subscale represent more frequent alcohol use before sex. Higher scores on the Sexual Initiation Scripts subscale represent more sexual initiation. Higher scores on the Media Sexual Socialization Scripts represent the incorporation of more ideas from media into sexual encounters.

Higher scores on the Marijuana Scripts subscale represent more frequent marijuana use before sex. Higher scores on this subscale represent more sexual experimentation based on both partners' suggestions. Table 5 shows the correlations between the demographic variables and the SSS subscales. Men with less education reported more Marijuana Scripts than those with more education.

Men with higher incomes reported more Romantic Intimacy Scripts and Alcohol scripts. Men with longer histories of unemployment reported higher Condom Scripts and Marijuana Scripts scores. Longer incarceration time was associated with higher Alcohol and Marijuana Scripts scores. Men who were married or in committed relationships reported higher Romantic Intimacy Scripts scores than single men and lower Condom and Alcohol Scripts scores compared with single men. Thus, the Alcohol and Marijuana Script subscales could be combined into a single substance use subscale e.

Among men who reported a main partner, higher Alcohol Scripts, Media Sexual Socialization Scripts, and Marijuana Scripts, and lower Condom Scripts scores were correlated with more sexual risk behavior. Among participants who reported at least one casual partner, higher Romantic Intimacy Scripts, Sexual Initiation Scripts, and Media Sexual Socialization Scripts scores, and lower Condom Scripts scores, were correlated with higher sexual risk. Sexual Experimentation Scripts were not ificantly correlated with sexual risk in either group.

Yet, quantitative investigations of sexual scripts remain surprisingly rare. Qualitative methods were invaluable to the development of the SSS. Most sexual scripts were related to sexual risk for one or both groups of men.

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