Conformity to gender norms as a moderator of the association between intrinsic religious orientation and condom use among emerging adults
Emerging adults engage in sexual behaviors that may compromise their health (e.g., unprotected sex) and contribute to sexually transmitted infection health disparities. Intrinsic religious orientation has been associated with less involvement in unhealthy behaviors. Additionally, there are mixed findings in regards to religiousness and condom use. Furthermore, conforming less to gender norms appears to be related to engaging in less risky sexual behavior (e.g., condom-protected vaginal sex) suggesting that gender norms may moderate the association between intrinsic religious orientation and risky sexual behavior. To test the hypothesis that the association between intrinsic religiousness and unprotected vaginal sex would be moderated by conformity to gender norms, participants (N=222; 18–25 years; M=22.9 years) completed an online survey with measures of religious orientation, conformity to gender norms, and sexual behaviors. Covariate (i.e., age, partner type, condom use self-efficacy) adjusted logistic regression and moderation analyses examined the association between religious orientation, gender norms, and condom use at the most recent sexual encounter (n=171). The regression model showed no significant main effects (AOR=0.87, 95% CI 0.54–1.29), and no significant interaction between feminine gender norms and religious orientation (n=87, b=0.11, p=0.92, 95% CI -1.95–2.17) or between masculine gender norms and religious orientation (n=102, b=0.35, p=0.83, 95% CI -2.88–3.58) in predicting condom use at the most recent sexual encounter. Although, religious orientation and gender norms were not significantly associated with condom use at the last encounter, partner type (steady vs. non-steady) was significantly associated (b= -1.39, p=0.01, 95% CI -2.38– -0.39) when feminine gender norms was used as a moderator. Further research is needed to identify other variables that may play a role in the relation between religious orientation and risky sexual behaviors (e.g., sexual health knowledge).