ERIC Number: ED295095
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1987-Aug
Attitudes towards and Knowledge of AIDS.
Edwards, Andrew; Hiday, Virginia Aldige'
Most research on Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) has been medical and most social science research on AIDS has been concerned with social factors in its spread and with social-psychological effects of contracting AIDS. This study was conducted to examine public attitudes toward, and public knowledge about AIDS. Knowledge about AIDS was measured by an index summing correct answers to 15 true-false items based on information readily available to subjects. Attitudes toward AIDS were measured by a set of 18 belief statements concerning persons with AIDS to which subjects agreed or disagreed on a 5-point Likert-type scale. Both instruments were completed by 117 college students. The results suggest that a large majority of college students have basic knowledge of the mechanisms of AIDS contagion and have little misinformation, yet are limited in their knowledge about its history, progress, and diagnosis. The data also suggest that college students share neither fear of casual contact with, nor moral condemnation of, persons with AIDS. Respondents did show inconsistency between their knowledge and their attitudes. While a majority recognized that AIDS is not spread through casual contact, a majority also expressed aversion toward food preparation and handling by persons with AIDS or by persons living with a person with AIDS. Although a majority of subjects were noncondemning and nonfearful of being in close proximity to persons with AIDS, a minority expressed negative attitudes toward persons with AIDS. (NB)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Society for the Study of Social Problems Meeting (37th, Chicago, IL, August 14-16, 1987).