This study assesses the embarrassment associated with purchasing, carrying, storing, using and disposing of condoms. It incorporates coping theory into the investigation of embarrassment by analysing the strategies individuals use to cope with embarrassment during condom purchase. The results of a survey show that individuals are embarrassed at various stages related to condom use. Purchasing condoms elicits the most embarrassment, followed by carrying and disposing, while using and storing are the least embarrassing. To cope with their embarrassment while purchasing condoms, people use multiple cognitive and behavioural coping strategies, with embarrassed people using more strategies. Both embarrassment and the number of strategies used decrease with age and experience. It appears that embarrassment associated with condoms remains a barrier to condom acquisition and consistent condom use, particularly among young adult populations. Coping strategies help individuals to bridge the gap between embarrassment and use.
Erratum In: Psychol Health Med. 2006 May;11(2):268