Do As I Say: Using Communication Role-Plays to Assess Sexual Assertiveness Following an Intervention

Laura M. Mercer Kollar, Teaniese L. Davis, Jennifer L. Monahan, Jennifer A. Samp, Valerie B. Coles, Erin L.P. Bradley, Jessica Mc Dermott Sales, Sarah K. Comer, Timothy Worley, Eve Rose, Ralph J. DiClemente

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Sexual risk reduction interventions are often ineffective for women who drink alcohol. The present study examines whether an alcohol-related sexual risk reduction intervention successfully trains women to increase assertive communication behaviors and decrease aggressive communication behaviors. Women demonstrated their communication skills during interactive role-plays with male role-play partners. Young, unmarried, and nonpregnant African American women (N = 228, ages 18-24) reporting unprotected vaginal or anal sex and greater than three alcoholic drinks in the past 90 days were randomly assigned to a control, a sexual risk reduction, or a sexual and alcohol risk reduction (NLITEN) condition. Women in the NLITEN condition significantly increased assertive communication behavior compared to women in the control condition, yet use of aggressive communicative behaviors was unchanged. These data suggest assertive communication training is an efficacious component of a sexual and alcohol risk reduction intervention. Public health practitioners and health educators may benefit from group motivational enhancement therapy (GMET) training and adding a GMET module to existing sexual health risk reduction interventions. Future research should examine GMET’s efficacy in combination with other evidence-based interventions within other populations and examine talking over and interrupting one’s sexual partner as an assertive communication behavior within sexual health contexts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)691-698
Number of pages8
JournalHealth Education and Behavior
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2016


  • aggressive communication
  • alcohol risk reduction
  • assertive communication
  • health intervention
  • role-play
  • sexual risk reduction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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