Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology

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Volume 3 Issue 1 (April 1993), Pages fmi-fmi, 1-86

A six‐month follow‐up of adolescents' sexual risk‐taking, HIV/AIDS knowledge, and attitudes to condoms (pages 53-65)

Abstract

A follow‐up study was conducted to investigate change in sexual behaviour, knowledge about HIV/AIDS transmission, and attitudes to condoms over a 6‐month period in a sample of late‐adolescent students. The study also obtained subjective reports of HIV/AIDS‐relevant change. Overall there was a decrease in sexual risk‐taking behaviour with casual partners but no change occurred in sexual behaviour with regular partners, knowledge about HIV/AIDS, attitude towards condoms, or intention to use a condom on next sexual encounter. Examination of individual data revealed that, for some adolescents where behavioural change had occurred, this was in the direction of less safe sex. There were few self‐reports of change in sexual behaviour, intention to take precautions against HIV/AIDS, or concern about HIV/AIDS over the preceding 6 months. Subjective reports of behaviour change did not correspond with reports of actual behaviour. Low rates of behaviour change are attributed to the failure of adolescents to personalize the threat of AIDS and to their trust in the safety of sex with a regular partner as well as to the lack of relevance of HIV/AIDS education campaigns to this group.

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