ERIC Number: ED302749
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1988-Aug-14
Reference Count: N/A
Illness Cognition and Responses to AIDS.
Bishop, George D.
Along with the current epidemic of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) has come what some have called an epidemic of fear. Two studies were conducted to explore lay responses to AIDS from the perspective of recent research on how lay people process illness information. The research examines the cognitive organization of disease information and the understanding which people have for specific categories of disease. The results of these two studies indicated that the primary dimensions used to categorize diseases were the extent to which the diseases were perceived to be contagious and serious/life-threatening. Further, the extent to which subjects were willing to interact with persons with specified diseases was a direct function of the extent to which the disease was contagious. The second study examined people's understanding of the concept of contagious disease. The results indicated that subjects tended to have a relatively simple and straightforward understanding of contagion. Subjects perceived flu, cold, and chicken pox to be the most typical of their concept of contagious disease. These findings have implications for understanding AIDS hysteria. (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 American Psychological Association (96th, Atlanta, GA, August 12-16, 1988).