Date of Award

8-1-2012

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Educational Psychology

First Advisor

Kimemia, Muthoni

Second Advisor

Asner-Self, Kimberly

Abstract

Sexually transmitted diseases have reached epidemic proportions, especially among African Americans. However, African American women have emerged as being one of the hardest hit groups by the most fatal of sexually transmitted diseases - the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and the Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). Although there has been much speculation regarding contributing risk factors specific to this group, previous research has focused mostly on low-income, uneducated or drug-addicted individuals. Still, these factors do not account for the infection rates among educated, non-addicted and financially stable women. In this study, psychological variables of self-efficacy and locus of control were explored study as potential risk factors in sexual decision making for African American women enrolled at two Midwestern universities. Locus of control was a significant predictor of normative beliefs regarding safer sex practices, while self-efficacy was not found to be a significant predictor for sexual decision-making. However, there was a significant interaction between self-efficacy and locus of control in relation to participants' intentions to practice safer sex. The results and implications for counseling, counselor education, research and prevention are discussed.

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