Academic journal article College Student Journal

College Students and Aids Awareness: The Effects of Condom Perception and Self-Efficacy

Academic journal article College Student Journal

College Students and Aids Awareness: The Effects of Condom Perception and Self-Efficacy

Article excerpt

This paper examined the attitudes and perceptions of urban college students regarding Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) awareness and prevention. AIDS has devastated the lives of citizens in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicate that the AIDS incidence rate for young Americans between the ages of 13 to 25 years rose nearly 20 percent, and approximately 50 percent of new infections are among individuals who are younger than 25 years old. Therefore, finding better methods to communicate AIDS risk knowledge to those Americans who are at greater risk of infection is paramount in the fight against this deadly scourge. We measured AIDS risk knowledge, self efficacy, and condom perception using three scales. Regression and analysis of variance techniques were employed to evaluate the hypotheses. Findings indicate significant age, gender and class rank effects for self-efficacy and condom perception among participants. Condom perception significantly predicted AIDS risk knowledge. Males reported higher self-efficacy and condom perception scores than females, and younger participants reported higher self-efficacy scores than older participants.

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Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) has devastated the lives of many peopl throughout the world. Of course, the United States is no exception and has seen its populace affected in great numbers as well. AIDS is a disease that destroys a person's immune system: and eventually, the person succumbs to opportunistic infections. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that between 1990 to 1995, the AIDS incidence rate for young Americans between the ages of 13 to 25 years rose nearly 20 percent. This high AIDS risk age cohort encompasses college students. Moreover, the CDC data indicate that approximately 50 percent of new human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infections in the United States are among individuals who are younger than 25 (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2003). HIV is the virus that causes AIDS.

Considering the substantial HIV/AIDS risk to young Americans, the present study investigates the attitudes and perceptions of college students vis-a-vis AIDS risk knowledge. Previous research studies in this area have addressed the cultural orientation and its impact on fear appeals to the group or individual (Murray-Johnson et al, 2001), adolescent risk behaviors (Bowers & Fullilove, 1990; Bradford & Beck, 1991; Brown & Baranowski, 1996; Faryna & Morales, 2000; Goh & Primavera, 1996; Smith, 1997; Stiffman & Dore, 1994) or providing descriptive (Anastasi, 1999;) and/or narrative (Kelly, 1999; Tourigny, 1998) commentary concerning the AIDS crisis. However, a search of several popular databases did not find any empirical studies related to urban college students' attitudes and behaviors regarding HIV awareness and prevention. Using regression and analysis of variance, the present study attempts to address this literature gap by examining the attitudes and perceptions of college students regarding AIDS awareness and prevention.

The organization of the paper proceeds as follows. Alter a review of the relevant literature, we evaluate the research hypotheses using several statistical procedures. The research findings are discussed within the context of the existing literature, and then we conclude by reporting the limitations of the study, the educational implications, and offer suggestions for future research.

Literature Review

Theoretical Framework

Bandura's theory of self-efficacy focuses on the individual and refers to general social influences, such as peer influences, media, social norms, and support (Bandura, 1982). According to Bandura, self-efficacy is defined as a belief that one can perform a specific behavior (1978, p. 240). Thus, self-efficacy is what a person believes he or she can do regardless of knowledge or skills (Bandura, 1982). …

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