ERIC Number: ED333291
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991-Apr
Reference Count: N/A
Perceptions of Vulnerability: Impact on AIDS-Preventive Behavior among College Adolescents.
Mickler, Susan E.
Although college students are generally knowledgeable about Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) and how it is transmitted, many heterosexual college students fail to engage in AIDS-preventive behavior. This study examined heterosexual college students' perceptions of their own and other peoples' vulnerability to AIDS and explored the relationship between perceived vulnerability and AIDS-preventive behavior. Instruments assessing perceived vulnerability, high-risk and AIDS-preventive behavior, and AIDS knowledge were completed by 80 sexually active heterosexual college students, none of whom reported use of intravenous drugs. The results revealed that the students estimated their own risk of contracting AIDS to be significantly lower than the risk for all others. Analyses of variance indicated that males, homosexual males and females, and young adults not in college were perceived as more likely to contract AIDS. AIDS knowledge was related to accuracy of risk estimates, but was not predictive of AIDS-preventive behavior. Lack of AIDS-preventive behavior appears related to illusions of invulnerability and the characterization of AIDS as an outgroup problem. The findings suggest implications for AIDS-prevention education programs. (Author/NB)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Eastern Psychological Association (62nd, New York, NY, April 11-14, 1991). This research was supported in part by a grant from the New Jersey Psychological Trust and the New Jersey Psychological Association.