Term of Award


Degree Name

Master of Health Science

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (restricted to Georgia Southern)

Committee Chair


Committee Member 1

Robert Kennedy

Committee Member 2

Emma Simon


College students represent a potential high risk group for transmitting AIDS due to the need to explore their sexuality and the peer influence they encounter. The purpose of this study was to investigate the sexual behaviors, attitudes, and AIDS-related knowledge of college students, and determine to what extent high risk sexual behaviors exist among this group. The sample for this study consisted of 18^f students enrolled in Language and Literature classes at a small southeastern college. The Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Practices was utilized to obtain the data, and the responses were analyzed using descriptive statistics. The results illustrated that the majority of students were engaging in AIDS-related high risk behavior. Significant findings include the observations of high AIDS self-efficacy, low perceived vulnerability towards exposure to AIDS, and average levels of knowledge. A chi square analysis between gender and high risk sexual behavior was borderline significant (p = 0.05^); otherwise, no significant differences (p < 0.05) were observed between the subgroups (age, race, and sexuality education) or outcome variables (perceived vulnerability, knowledge of AIDS transmission, self-efficacy level, influence of AIDS, and worry about AIDS from sexual activity) with respect to the percentage of students engaging in high risk sexual behavior. A significant (p = 0.031) two-way interaction was observed between gender and age with regard to knowledge of AIDS transmission, with older males exhibiting higher knowledge scores than their younger male counterparts. (The existing sexuality education programs in post—secondary schools appear to have not succeeded in providing students with the necessary behavioral skills to make responsible decisions regarding their sexual activity, and the data from this study supports the need for the development of AIDS-related programs for all college students which create a perception of vulnerability towards the students contracting AIDS.


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