Date of Award
Master of Arts
Dr. R. Wayne Fuqua
Dr. Lester Wright
Masters Thesis-Open Access
With the ever rising numbers of people becoming infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) as reported by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC, 1997) the need for preventing the spread of infection is clear. One promising intervention, based on a theory called social diffusion, involves training popular opinion leaders to act as behavior change endorsers within their community (Kelly, 1991). This study found 25-30% reductions in high-risk behaviors and 16-18% increases in safe sex behaviors in a male homosexual population as a result of this type of intervention. The current study examines the effectiveness of this intervention within a community of female college students.
Very few effects were found as a result of the social diffusion intervention. No evidence was found to support changes in safe sex behaviors. However, participants in the experimental group were more likely to perceive themselves as at risk for contracting HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases after the intervention than the control group. Because the effects of this intervention in a female population was not as large as in a male homosexual population, the needs of women in HIV prevention interventions may need to be more closely examined.
Pagoto, Sherry, "The Social Diffusion of Safe Sex Behaviors in College Women" (1998). Masters Theses. 4627.