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Open Access Research article

Modeling predictors of risky drug use behavior among male street laborers in urban Vietnam

Van Huy Nguyen1*, Michael P Dunne2 and Joseph Debattista3

Author affiliations

1 Department of Health Management and Organization, Institute for Preventive Medicine and Public Health, Hanoi Medical University, 01 Ton That Tung Str., Dong Da Dist., Hanoi, Vietnam

2 School of Public Health and Social Work, Faculty of Health, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia

3 Brisbane Sexual Health and HIV Service, MetroNorth Hospital and Health Service, Brisbane, Australia

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Citation and License

BMC Public Health 2013, 13:453  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-13-453

Published: 7 May 2013



The application of theoretical frameworks for modeling predictors of drug risk among male street laborers remains limited. The objective of this study was to test a modified version of the IMB (Information-Motivation-Behavioral Skills Model), which includes psychosocial stress, and compare this modified version with the original IMB model in terms of goodness-of-fit to predict risky drug use behavior among this population.


In a cross-sectional study, social mapping technique was conducted to recruit 450 male street laborers from 135 street venues across 13 districts of Hanoi city, Vietnam, for face-to-face interviews. Structural equation modeling (SEM) was used to analyze data from interviews.


Overall measures of fit via SEM indicated that the original IMB model provided a better fit to the data than the modified version. Although the former model was able to predict a lesser variance than the latter (55% vs. 62%), it was of better fit. The findings suggest that men who are better informed and motivated for HIV prevention are more likely to report higher behavioral skills, which, in turn, are less likely to be engaged in risky drug use behavior.


This was the first application of the modified IMB model for drug use in men who were unskilled, unregistered laborers in urban settings. An AIDS prevention program for these men should not only distribute information and enhance motivations for HIV prevention, but consider interventions that could improve self-efficacy for preventing HIV infection. Future public health research and action may also consider broader factors such as structural social capital and social policy to alter the conditions that drive risky drug use among these men.

Vietnam; Drug use; Risk Behavior(s); HIV/AIDS; Unskilled Laborer(s); IMB Model; Structural Equation Modeling (SEM)