Attitudes of practicing nurses as predictors of intended care behavior with persons who are HIV positive: Testing the Ajzen—Fishbein theory of reasoned action


  • Heather K. Spence Laschinger PhD, RN,

    Associated Professor, Corresponding author
    1. Faculty of Nursing, The University of Western Ontario
    • Faculty of Nursing, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario N6A 5C1, Canada
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  • Dolly Goldenberg PhD, RN

    Associated Professor
    1. Faculty of Nursing, The University of Western Ontario
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The purpose of this descriptive correlational study was to examine practicing nurses' attitudes, subjective norms, and intentions to care for HIV positive patients, using the Theory of Reasoned Action. One hundred and forty-one subjects completed a questionnaire developed according to guidelines described by Ajzen and Fishbein (1980). Consistent with the theory, nurses' attitudes and subjective norms were found to be significant predictors of intentions to care for persons who are HIV positive (R2 = 0.27). Personal beliefs found to discriminate between intenders and nonintenders were those related to possible consequences for self, family, and friends, but not job-related consequences. Normative beliefs which discriminated between groups were also related to nonprofessional referents' expectations. In addition, qualitative data showed persistent concerns about occupational risk for contracting AIDS. Based on the results of this research, it is recommended that nurse educators in both clinical and academic settings, target specific educational/training interventions to include transmission, prevention, as well as exploration of feelings, attitudes, beliefs, and behavioral intentions about HIV-related topics. Further theory-based research and testing of interventions to change practicing nurses' attitudes and beliefs about HIV disease are advocated.