Knowledge, attitudes, and behavior of college students regarding AIDS

Taliaferro, Donna H.
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This was a descriptive, correlational study to explore the relationship of knowledge, attitudes, and changes in sexual behavior among college students regarding AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome). Two hundred twenty four students from a regional university in Kentucky were surveyed to determine levels of knowledge of AIDS, attitudes toward AIDS, and sexual activity that included lifetime behavior, past three months behavior, and last one month behavior. The theory of reasoned action (Ajzen and Fishbein, 1980) was used to guide the study. The theory states that overt behavior is a function of one's intention to perform the behavior. Attitude and knowledge are necessary to identify specific consequences following the behavior. Data from the three questionnaires were analyzed by SPSSx statistical package. Ages ranged from 18 to 30 years with a mean of 21.5 years. All married students were deleted from the sample. Ninety-two males and 132 females were surveyed. Findings indicated that only 18% of the students maintained a high level of knowledge. Three percent of the students reported a positive attitude towards AIDS. Of the six students with positive attitudes, none had high knowledge scores. Ninety percent of the students admitted to vaginal intercourse, while only seven percent stated they always used condoms. No relationship was found between knowledge and attitudes and changes in behavior. This sample of college students is consistent with other studies where high sexual activity is flourishing with multiple partners and no means of protection from AIDS. Results of the study should not be generalized to other colleges and universities due to the non-random, cluster sampling. A wide range of majors and classifications were surveyed to help reduce bias of non-randomization. Further research into the reasons why college students are not changing behavior was recommended. Evaluating the effects of educational programs on behavior change was also recommended, especially long-term effectiveness.

Nursing, Public health, Health education, Attitudes, Knowledge, Behavior, College students, Acquired immune deficiency syndrome--AIDS