ERIC Number: ED328822
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1990-Aug
The Training of AIDS Volunteers: Determinants of Communication Apprehension.
Berghuis, James P.; Omoto, Allen M.
Communication apprehension, or feelings of anxiety and discomfort when faced with the prospect of interacting with another person, may be caused by fear, stereotypes, negative attitudes, or perceived lack of communication ability. The present study followed participants through an Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) volunteer training program, investigating the determinants of their communication apprehension towards persons with AIDS and people who are dying. Specifically, death anxiety, attitudes toward male homosexuality, and general communication ability were all expected to be related to communication apprehension prior to training. The changes in these measures that occurred as a result of training were also assessed, as well as the persistence of these changes, and their continuing association with communication apprehension. Eighty-one participants in the 2.5-day program completed a pre-training questionnaire; 63 completed the post-treatment questionnaire; and 31 completed the follow-up questionnaire. As predicted, regression analyses of initial communication apprehension revealed death anxiety, attitudes toward male homosexuality, and communication ability all to be predictors of communication apprehension. Communication ability and attitudes toward male homosexuality, however, proved to be differentially important in predicting communication apprehension toward someone who was dying or toward a person with AIDS. As predicted, moreover, the training experience led to significant immediate decreases in communication apprehension (both toward a dying person and a person with AIDS), with these changes persisting through a 4-month follow-up. Thus, the results suggest that volunteer programs should focus on reducing the stigma associated with, and link between, AIDS and homosexuality. (ABL)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association (98th, Boston, MA, August 10-14, 1990).