Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Frederick X. Gibbons

Second Advisor

Meg Gerrard


The current study is a continuation on a line of research examining the effects of affective states on cognitions related to risky sexual behavior and is based on the Prototype/Willingness Model (Gibbons, Gerrard, & Lane, 2003). Past research (Pomery, 2004) found that mood states had a greater influence on behavioral willingness (BW) to engage in risky sexual behavior than on behavioral intentions/expectations (BI/BE) to engage in risky sexual behavior. Negative affective states were associated with greater levels of willingness and positive affective states were associated with lower levels of willingness. The current study investigated the effects of happy, sad, and neutral mood states on positive and negative outcome expectancies and other risk cognitions (willingness, intentions/expectations, prototype images, perceived vulnerability). College students (N = 110), who were pre-selected based on their prior high levels of willingness and either low or high levels of intentions, were randomly assigned to one of the three mood conditions (happy, sad, neutral). After the mood induction, participants were exposed to eight positive and eight negative outcome expectancies and their endorsements of these expectancies were measured, along with their response times. This was followed by the other risk cognition measures. It was hypothesized that those in the negative mood condition would more strongly endorse the positive outcome expectancies, as they would be motivated to improve their current mood state. In contrast, participants in the happy mood condition were expected to have lower levels of endorsement for the positive outcome expectancies. In addition, it was hypothesized that the effects of the induced mood states would be moderated by prior level of BW and BI, with those "at risk" (high BW/low BI) showing stronger mood effects than those more committed to the risky behavior (high BW/high BI). Contrary to expectations, no effects of mood were found on the endorsement of outcome expectancies in any of the repeated-measures analyses. When examining only the negative outcome expectancies, there were significant effects of mood on the "Would this be important to you?" item, though not as predicted. The negative outcome expectancies received the highest importance ratings from those who were in the happy mood condition and were higher in mass-testing BI/BE. There were few effects of mood on the positive outcome expectancy items. Not surprisingly, those in the high BW/high BI group (the "intenders") showed greater endorsement of the positive outcome expectancies and lower endorsement of the negative outcome expectancies; these effects may be due to dissonance reduction. Contrary to predictions, however, when interactions were found, it was the high BW/high BI group that showed the stronger mood effects ("the intenders"). With respect to the response time measures, those in the happy mood condition with higher levels of prior BI/BE were quicker at reading the negative outcome expectancies; those in the sad condition took longer to report whether these expectancies either came to mind or were important to them. Those in the sad mood condition reported the highest levels of BW and BI/BE during the experimental session.


Copyright Owner

Elizabeth Anne Pomery



Date Available


File Format


File Size

92 pages

Included in

Psychology Commons