Master's Theses

Date of Award

Summer 1995

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Psychology

Advisor

Thomas T. Jackson

Abstract

Although much research has been conducted on individual factors associated with AIDS-preventive behavior, there has still been some question as to which factors most strongly affect behavioral changes toward risk reduction, particularly in young adults and adolescents. There has also been some question as to whether sexual educational programs in high schools have long lasting effects upon later assessed knowledge concerning AIDS. The present study was designed to investigate the factors of friend perceptions, communication with sexual partners, parental communication in sexual education, knowledge about AIDS, and perceived risk as predictive variables of behavior that would put students at risk for being infected with the HIV virus and AIDS. The present study also examined whether high school sexual education programs have long term effects upon AIDS knowledge. Data were obtained through the use of a demographic questionnaire, a sexual behavior questionnaire, a Knowledge About AIDS (KAA) questionnaire, and a perceived peer norm scale from a sample of 145 college students ages 18 and older. The questionnaires were distributed and then collected the following day in classrooms at Fort Hays State University and Nebraska Wesleyan University. Results indicated that subjects who were at-risk for acquiring HIV had higher levels of perceived risk for developing HIV than those subjects who were not at-risk for acquiring HIV. Results also indicated that higher levels of communication with sexual partners were significantly related to higher levels of AIDS-preventive behavior, particularly in women. Significantly few men perceived their friends as practicing AIDS-preventive behavior, particularly if they themselves were not at-risk for AIDS. A majority of men saw their peers as not practicing AIDS-preventive behavior, whether or not they were at-risk for AIDS. It is hoped that this research may help to highlight factors that might have an effect upon AIDS-preventive behaviors.

Rights

Copyright 1995 Jeremy Tucker Simonsen

Comments

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