Honors Program

University Honors

Date of Award


Thesis Professor(s)

Julia Dodd

Thesis Professor Department


Thesis Reader(s)

Diana Morelen


Risky sexual practices can lead to concerning public health issues, including sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and unintended pregnancy. Coercive or deceptive behaviors by one’s partner to engage in risky practices may be one factor contributing to sexual risk. This study examined experiences of sexual risk coercion and deception, including partner sexual infidelity, coerced condom nonuse, and fear of negative partner reaction to condom request, as predictors of engagement in sexual risk behaviors, including condom use, safer sex communication, and lifetime number of sexual partners. Self-esteem was examined as a moderator. College students (N = 216) were recruited through the ETSU Sona System to complete self-report surveys via the REDCap survey platform. Using SPSS, linear regression analyses and PROCESS moderation analyses were performed. In analyses of covariance, gender, race/ethnicity, and sexual orientation made no significant contributions to the models. Partner sexual infidelity significantly predicted lifetime number of sexual partners (F(1, 210) = 11.042, p = .001, β = 3.088, SE = .929), R2 = .050. Self-esteem was found to be a significant moderator of this relationship (F(1, 197) = 8.759, p = .0035). Fear of negative partner reaction to condom request significantly predicted lifetime number of sexual partners (F(1, 213) = 4.930, p = .027, β = 2.609, SE = 1.175), R2 = .023. Future research should continue to examine the psychosocial determinants of sexual behaviors, as increased understanding will inform more effective sexual risk intervention to reduce HIV, other STIs, and unplanned pregnancy among college populations.


East Tennessee State University

Document Type

Honors Thesis - Withheld

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
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