Investigating the Public Agenda: Examining Factors Related to HIV/AIDS Complacency in a National Sample of U.S. Adults Público

Taylor, Jocelyn E. (2015)

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Serial nationally representative surveys describe increases in HIV/AIDS complacency as a multi-level occurrence reflecting HIV/AIDS as an issue of diminishing personal concern or national importance. This phenomenon describes the public agenda on HIV, which is influenced by media and factors such topic salience within a community. Domestic and international studies suggest a relationship between engaging in risky behaviors and complacency due to HAART-related treatment optimism, as well as a relationship between stigmatizing or homophobic beliefs with HIV/AIDS complacency. Plausible causal models developed with MSM suggest complacency can be operationalized as perceived threat of HIV, predicted by perceptions of severity and susceptibility to the disease. Participants were recruited from a nationally representative online research panel (n=6713). A 10-point item assessed HIV/AIDS complacency operationalized as perceived threat; higher scores indicating HIV/AIDS as an important national issue. One-Way ANOVA and correlations examined bivariate relationships between complacency and the following variables: age; education; gender; region; sexual identity; race; treatment optimism; stigma; homophobia. Participants' mean perceived threat score was 6.5 (SD=2.1). Blacks (M=7.9, SD=2.0) and Hispanics (M=6.7, SD=2.2) scored higher than whites (M=6.2, SD=2.0). Bivariate analyses indicated that statistically significant differences in mean perceived threat score existed among all measures. The final multivariate model included all measures and explained 18% of the variance in perceived threat. Decrease perceived threat was related to treatment optimism, while increased perceived threat was related stigmatizing beliefs about people with HIV or AIDS, and non-homophobic beliefs. The largest predictor of perceived threat was race, potentially because of topic salience in particular racial/ethnic communities. As complacent individuals are more likely to engage in risky behaviors, prevention efforts should consider these individual and community-level differences when engaging the public with HIV prevention messages.

Table of Contents

INTRODUCTION 1 HIV/AIDS Complacency 2 Public Opinion 5 Media and Public Agenda 7 Study Purpose 8 Theoretical Approach 9 LITERATURE REVIEW 13 Treatment optimism 17 Agenda-Setting 22 Media Agenda and HIV/AIDS 24 Public Agenda and HIV/AIDS 26 Theoretical Approach 28 METHODS 31 Participants and procedures 31 Measures 32 Sociodemographic Characteristics 33 Data analyses 33 RESULTS 34 DISCUSSION 36 REFERENCES 42 APPENDIX A 48 Analysized SpringStyles 2014 Items 48 APPENDIX B 49 Emory IRB Determination 49

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