Date of Submission


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)



Department Chair

Arthur Freeman, Ed.D., ABPP

First Advisor

Steven Godin, Ph.D., Chairperson

Second Advisor

Stuart Badner, Psy.D.

Third Advisor

U.S. Army Col. Jose Sanchez (retired)


This study looked at the role of perceived social norms and internal versus external locus of control on high-risk sexual behaviors and condom use in a population of 333 U.S. Army soldiers from Combat and Non-Combat units of the Ist Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas. This study showed that younger (17 -24 years of age) soldiers of lower rank (junior enlisted, E-l to E-5) displayed more misperceptions of what constitutes appropriate sexual behavior and condom use than their peers. It also showed that soldiers, in general, not only reported higher rates of high-risk sexual behavior themselves, but that internality or externality of locus of control in health maintenance played no role in their decision. Junior enlisted personnel also demonstrated less HIV/AIDS related knowledge than older (25 years of age and older), senior enlisted (E-6 and higher) personnel. Secondary analyses were done on various risk factors, which showed that younger soldiers were also more likely to engage in high-risk sexual behaviors, regardless of marital status. Gender effects were also noted in that males were more likely to have more different sexual partners, with condom use directly associated with reported vaginal sex and number of sexual partners. This study demonstrates an urgent need for continued improvement in the military's HIV/AIDS and STI prevention training and education programs. Despite the lack of evidence to support the Social Norms Model, a sexual health maintenance training program involving aspects of a Social Norms Campaign, which specifically involves group norms, may prove useful.