The Effects of Culturally Sensitive Messages and Health Beliefs


Name: Arthur Johnson

Rank: Col (ret), USAFR

Organization: The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio

Performance Site: The University of Texas, San Antonio, TX

Year Published: 1995

Abstract Status: Final


This study examined relationships between AIDS health beliefs, knowledge of transmission, and risk behaviors among Hispanic ROTC students. The study also examined whether a culturally sensitive message was more effective in increasing AIDS health beliefs, knowledge, and reducing high-risk behaviors than a health belief model approach or a control group. In addition, the study sought to determine if a culturally sensitive message was more effective for acculturated Hispanics than non-acculturated Hispanics.Every 8 minutes a person dies from AIDS. The incidence of heterosexually acquired AIDS is 10 times as high among Hispanics as among non-Hispanics. The health belief model contends that individuals who believe they are personally susceptible to a target disease, that the disease's consequences are severe, and that the benefits of engaging in preventive actions outweigh the barriers are more likely to adopt preventive behaviors. Culturally sensitive messages incorporate various components of the traditional Hispanic culture.This was a pretest/posttest study. The subjects completed four instruments: AIDS Knowledge Test, AIDS Risk Behavior Scale, AIDS Health Belief Scale, and Hispanic Acculturation Scale. Subjects were assigned to one of three groups: a culturally sensitive message group, a health belief model group, or a control group. After 3 months, the instruments (except the Hispanic Acculturation Scale) were administered again. Hispanic ROTC students were not very knowledgeable about HIV transmission. There were no significant differences by group in acquisition of knowledge of AIDS (p > .05) for both females and males. Overall, significant correlations were found between health beliefs and some risk behaviors. There were no significant differences by group on the AIDS Risk Behavior Scale (p = .5322) or the AIDS Health Belief Scale score (p = .4322). Both male and females were fairly homogeneous in terms of their acculturation.


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