Date of Award

5-2007

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Human Ecology

Major Professor

Robert H. Kirk

Committee Members

Paula Carney, John R. Ray, C. Glennon Rowell, Susan M. Smith

Abstract

HIV/ AIDS/STD is brought on by a way of life that includes sexual excess and drug abuse and the risk of contracting AIDS depends exclusively on an individual's behavior choices. Changing one's lifestyle is the most effective way of avoiding these infectious diseases. If, in fact, changing to a healthier lifestyle can help one to avoid AIDS/STD, then it becomes essential that college students develop an understanding of the interrelationship between the quality of a person's knowledge, attitudes, beliefs and behaviors and an awareness of how these qualities are interwoven into human behavior.

The purpose of this study was to assess the self-reported AIDS knowledge, attitudes, beliefs and behaviors of a sample of students attending private and state funded historically black colleges and universities. The secondary purpose of this study was to propose the development of a conceptual teaching/learning framework based on the study findings and conclusions.

The study used a self-report instrument to gather data. The instrument used was the Knowledge, Attitudes, Beliefs, and Behaviors (KABB) Survey. The instrument was used to obtain demographic and well as information regarding (1) HIV risk factors and related behaviors; (2) personal experience with HIV testing ; (3) knowledge, attitudes and beliefs; and (4) opinions regarding public policies. The instrument was selected to collect data based upon the following (1) KABB contains clear and concise questions covering HIV/ AIDS risk factors and related attitudes and beliefs among college students in the United States; (2) The instrument had already been utilized with the college population; (3) Based on a validation by field experts, the instrument demonstrated its validity and usefulness in a college setting; and (4) the survey instrument was able to identify HIV/ AIDS knowledge, attitudes and behaviors among students which would enable college health professionals to establish modules that address those behaviors. Moreover, the results may provide a basis to compare findings to earlier studies.

Descriptive statistics of the demographics which included categorical frequency distributions were used to depict salient information on the demographic questionnaire for comparing and contrasting gender, level of education (groups of first year and second year students with groups of third, fourth year and graduate students) and type of institution (private versus public). Relationships among the continuous variables consisting of means, standard deviations, medians, etc. were statistically analyzed. Chi square analysis was used to test whether a significant difference existed between the variables. A T-test was performed to measure HBCU student's HIV/AIDS knowledge compared to level of education, gender and type of institution attended.

Based on the results of the findings a conceptual HIV / AIDS/STD framework was designed. The purpose of the framework is to help HBCU education practitioners and programs design, implement, assess and evaluate instruction.

Limitations of the study were addressed. Implications for the university counseling centers were provided as well as recommendations for future research to determine other variables that have a stronger impact on HIV / AIDS/STD and lifestyle related at-risk behavior of students attending historically black colleges and universities.

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