A theoretical model was used to examine the influence of relationship factors, pregnancy intentions, contraceptive behavior and other psychosocial characteristics on stages of behavior change in condom use among heterosexual black women of reproductive age. Data from an inner-city street survey compared women who were not contemplating condom use, women who were attempting to use condoms or had used them consistently for short periods of time, and those who had achieved long-term consistent use. Women's relationship with their main partner appears to be an important factor in understanding their use of condoms both with main partners and with other partners. For condom use with the main partner, factors such as emotional closeness and partner support were significant predictors of the likelihood that women would be attempting to use condoms rather than not contemplating use. Cohabitation and the belief that condom use builds trust were significant predictors of long-term consistent condom use. Having a regular or main partner was strongly associated with intentions to use condoms with other partners. Women who wanted to become pregnant were much less likely to intend to use condoms with their main partner, and women using oral contraceptives were less likely to be long-term consistent condom users.
(Family Planning Perspectives, 28:101-107)