Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Major Professor

Michelle Violanti

Committee Members

John W. Haas, Kelby K. Halone, Eric Haley, David Houston


The recent rise in unprotected anal intercourse among men who have sex with men and the possible reasons for that behavior despite general health concerns reflects the purpose and direction of this dissertation. Two issues are investigated within this study: first, is reactance the possible cause for bare-backing and second, how influential are the socially constructed reasons given by gay and bisexual men for the behavior increase? Results from 2036 questionnaires collected during a large, metropolitan circuit party found that there is a statistical link between higher reactance scores and the likelihood of engaging in unprotected anal intercourse. Secondly, two socially constructed reasons why men who have sex with men often bareback were supported. These include high solidarity reasons (also known as bugchasing) and individuals with high emotional intimacy scores. Two other socially constructed reasons for the behavior, high physical intimacy and high fear, were not statistically supported. Other issues such as lack of safe sex advertising, alcohol/drug usage, and self-identification anxiety are also discussed. An overall conclusion drawn from this study is that many health communication models are failing to prevent the spread of AIDS and HIV infection.

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