AIDS education and adolescent sexual self-efficacy and behavior

John Sherry, Fordham University


This study examined the effects of AIDS education within the context of Bandura's social-cognitive theory. The participants were 319 college freshmen enrolled in a lower level biology class at a major university in the Northeastern United States. Sexual self-efficacy, peer support for safer sex, self-control, expectation to act to prevent pregnancy, perceived threat of AIDS, self-esteem and sexual attitudes and behaviors were assessed 1 month after the completion of either the STAR program (an interactive theater approach to AIDS education based on a social-cognitive model; (N = 159) or a traditional didactic approach to AIDS education; (N = 78). A group of college freshmen (N = 82) served as a control group. Prior to the educational interventions, all subjects completed pretest questionnaire packets consisting of a demographic survey, a self-esteem scale (Rosenberg's Self-Esteem Scale (RSE)), a sexual attitudes and behaviors survey (AIDS Background Survey), and an AIDS prevention measure (Beliefs About Preventing AIDS (BAPA)). The interventions were introduced immediately after completing the questionnaires and the posttests were administered 4 weeks later. Descriptive statistics were calculated and chi-square analyses were conducted to determine if there were any pretest differences across the three groups (STAR, lecture, control). Gender differences were also assessed. The dependent variables were analyzed using a multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA), whereas the data for self-esteem and sexual attitudes and behaviors were analyzed using an analysis of variance (ANOVA). Pearson product-moment correlation coefficients were computed to assess relations among self-efficacy, self-esteem, and sexual attitudes and behaviors. Findings indicated that STAR program participants displayed higher sexual self-efficacy compared to students who were in the lecture and control groups. Students in the lecture group displayed higher peer support for safer sex than students in the STAR program and the control group. Several differences also emerged among the groups on sexual attitudes and behaviors. For students in the STAR program, as self-efficacy and self-esteem scores increased so did reports of more positive sexual attitudes and behaviors. Some possible explanations of the findings were considered, and suggestions for future research were proposed.

Subject Area

Academic guidance counseling|Health education|Public health

Recommended Citation

Sherry, John, "AIDS education and adolescent sexual self-efficacy and behavior" (1997). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9809021.