Special Collection 1 - Article 9 | Pages 279-318

Why are they worried? Concern about AIDS in rural Malawi

By Kirsten P. Smith

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Date received:20 Jan 2003
Date published:19 Sep 2003
Word count:8904
Keywords:Africa - South of the Sahara, AIDS/HIV, behavior, behavioral change, individual models, Malawi, models of health behavior, networks, perceived risk, sex behavior, sexual behavior, social models, worry


There are two main types of models of behavioral change. What are collectively referred to as "individual models" are the predominant frameworks for studying risk behaviors including those related to HIV/AIDS.
Individual models focus on risk perceptions, attitudes, outcome expectations, perceived norms, and self-efficacy. Models of risk behavior that focus on social or community factors have more recently been developed in response to criticisms of individual models. I use longitudinal data from the Malawi Diffusion and Ideational Change Project to study worry about HIV/AIDS.
Specifically, I ask, what factors determine how much a person worries about HIV/AIDS, and are the predominant factors those that individual models would suggest, or are there are other determinants that have a greater impact on worry? I find that levels of network worry and suspected spousal infidelity have the strongest and most robust influence on respondent worry, providing support for the importance of social factors.

Author's Affiliation

Kirsten P. Smith - University of Pennsylvania, United States of America [Email]

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