Mood, Arousal, and Sexual Risk-Taking
Sexual risk taking contributes directly to high rates of sexually transmitted
disease and the continued spread of HIV infection. Despite many years
of research, the mechanisms that lead to risk-taking behavior are still
poorly understood. Specifically, prior research has largely assumed that
sexual decision-making depends on rational thought processes and has not
adequately addressed the role that emotional state plays in influencing
This project will conduct systematic research on various types of positive
or negative emotional state and sexual risk taking. An additional objective
of the research program is the validation of a self-report measure (assessing
the effects of emotional state on constructs related to sexual behavior)
that could be used to identify and target relevant populations in future
prevention and intervention programs.
Four separate studies will be conducted. Those studies will occur following
completion of a general questionnaire by 2,000 respondents to screen individuals
for possible participation in the project. Individuals who report an increase
or decrease in sexual interest when happy, sad or anxious may be asked
to participate. The lab studies involve exposure to mood-inducing film
clips and response to questionnaires. Two studies also include physiological
measurement of sexual arousal.
Erick Janssen, Ph.D. and John
Research Associates: Sarah Hahn, Jordan Rullo, Valarie Taulman,
Karen Hull, Sue Jones, Ben Barone, Chris Cole, Chris Echterling.
FUNDING: National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
Public health relevance
Hear Dr. Erick Janssen discuss research on mood and sexual arousal ("KI Presents" podcast).
Sexual Risk-taking Project
Mood and Sexuality
« BACK to Research Index