Measurement noninvariance of safer sex self-efficacy between heterosexual and sexual minority black youth

Donald Gerke, Elizabeth L. Budd, Kathryn Plax

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Objective: Black and lesbian, gay, bisexual, or questioning (LGBQ) youth in the United States are disproportionately affected by HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Although self-efficacy is strongly, positively associated with safer sex behaviors, no studies have examined the validity of a safer sex self-efficacy scale used by many federally funded HIV/STD prevention programs. This study aims to test factor validity of the Sexual Self-Efficacy Scale by using confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) to determine if scale validity varies between heterosexual and LGBQ Black youth. Method: The study uses cross-sectional data collected through baseline surveys with 226 Black youth (15 to 24 years) enrolled in community-based HIV-prevention programs. Participants use a 4-point Likert-type scale to report their confidence in performing 6 healthy sexual behaviors. CFAs are conducted on 2 factor structures of the scale. Using the best-fitting model, the scale is tested for measurement invariance between the 2 groups. Results: A single-factor model with correlated errors of condom-specific items fits the sample well and, when tested with the heterosexual group, the model demonstrates good fit. However, when tested with the LGBQ group, the same model yields poor fit, indicating factorial noninvariance between the groups. Conclusions: The Sexual Self-Efficacy Scale does not perform equally well among Black heterosexual and LGBQ youth. Study findings suggest additional research is needed to inform development of measures for safer sex self-efficacy among Black LGBQ youth to ensure validity of conceptual understanding and to accurately assess effectiveness of HIV/STD prevention interventions among this population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)569-584
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of the Society for Social Work and Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 27 2015


  • Prevention
  • Self-efficacy
  • Sexual behavior
  • Sexual orientation


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