Many models have been developed to explain the decision-making process of high-risk sexual behavior (HRSB). Juhasz and Sonnenshein-Schneider (1980) proposed a model for sexual decision-making with three distinct factors (socialization influences, factors germane to the situation, and cognitive factors). While this model makes sense from a theoretical standpoint, it has not been empirically validated and they have focused exclusively on adolescent sexual decision-making processes. The purpose of this study was to identify the key points in decision-making toward engagement in extradyadic high-risk sexual behavior. Using qualitative interviews in a case-oriented study, key components surrounding the context, decision-making, and management processes of engagement in high-risk sexual behavior were analyzed. We found that chemical impairment, sensation-seeking and impulsivity, quality of the relationship, and self-esteem were all key contributors to the context of engaging in HRSB. On the other hand, the decision-making process of HRSB contained compartmentalization, rationalization, and experiencing a point of no return. Finally, the management process of engaging in HRSB included dissociation, self-esteem, and control


High Risk Sexual Behavior, Risky Sex, Case-Oriented, Decision-Making

Author Bio(s)

Katherine M. Hertlein, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor and Director of the Marriage and Family Therapy Program at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, 4505 Maryland Parkway, Box 453045, Las Vegas, NV 8154-3045. Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to: Katherine M. Hertlein at E-mail: Katherine.hertlein@unlv.edu

Claudia Villasante is a senior Honors College student pursuing her Bachelors in Psychology from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

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