Self-justification prevents unsafe sex

Cognitive Dissonance and Public Health
Intervention Public Health

Intervention Description

Two groups of gay men were given different behavioral interventions with the goal of decreasing unsafe sex. The first group was exposed to a standard poster encouraging condom use, while the other group participated in an intervention focused on self-justification. In the self-justification condition, participants were asked to recall in detail a sexual encounter in which they had engaged in unsafe sex and provide a justification for their actions. Participants were also asked to judge how reasonable their justification seemed and their current thoughts on the subject. In the self-justification group, significantly fewer men later engaged in two or more acts of unsafe sex when compared to the poster condition