Developing an Emotional Competency Intervention to Decrease Sexual Risk-Taking in Men who have Sex with Men

  • Dimitra Strongylou

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy (PhD)


HIV and STIs transmission remain disproportionately high among men who have sex with men (MSM) in the UK compared to their heterosexual counterparts. A wealth of research has examined cognitive factors affecting MSM’s behaviour but far fewer studies have examined the role of emotions in relation to MSM’s risky sexual behaviour. Previous studies have predominantly employed the term “emotional dysregulation”. This term highlights a problematic nature of emotions which might further stigmatise the MSM population. Therefore, this doctoral study suggests that emotional competency (EC), which focuses on more positive aspects of emotions, should be considered when examining MSM’s sexual behaviour.

This thesis employed a mixed methods approach guided by the MRC Framework to address its research aims, which were firstly, to examine the role of emotions in sexual risk-taking in MSM, and second, to develop an EC intervention to decrease risky sexual behaviour in MSM.

Overall, this thesis has established a link between EC and sexual risk-taking in MSM. It has identified the most theoretically robust EC intervention currently in use and systematically developed this into a promising intervention for MSM, which, in the future, will be tested in clinical practice. To these ends, recommendations for future research related to feasibility and pilot testing of the intervention are also provided in the final discussion chapter of this thesis.
Date of Award2019
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Glasgow Caledonian University
SupervisorJamie Frankis (Supervisor), Paul Flowers (Supervisor) & Lawrence Elliott (Supervisor)

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