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Obstetric Nurses’ Attitudes and Nursing Care Intentions Regarding Care of HIV-Positive Pregnant Women


  • Lynda A. Tyer-Viola

    Corresponding author
    1. Lynda A. Tyer-Viola, RNC, PhD, is a clinical nurse specialist at the Department of Patient Care Services in the Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA.
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Lynda A. Tyer-Viola, RNC, PhD, Massachusetts General Hospital, 55 Fruit Street, Blake 1473, Boston, MA 02114. E-mail:


Objective:  To define attitudes toward pregnant women with HIV and how these attitudes correlate with and affect prejudice and nursing care intentions.

Design:  Cross-sectional descriptive correlational study of obstetric nurses.

Setting:  Eight hundred (800) mailed surveys in the United States (N = 350).

Participants:  A random sample of nurses certified in inpatient obstetrics.

Main Outcome Measures:  Background information tool, the Pregnant Women with HIV Attitude Scale, the Prejudice Interaction Scale in response to four vignettes, and the Marlowe-Crowne Social Desirability Scale—Form C.

Results:  Obstetric nurses had more positive Mothering-Choice attitudes than Sympathy-Rights attitudes (p= .000). Nurses who knew more than four people affected by HIV/AIDS had more positive attitudes (p≤ .05). Nurses with more positive attitudes were less prejudiced and more willing to care for pregnant women with HIV (p= .05). Nurses were significantly more prejudiced and less willing to care for women with than without HIV (p≤ .0001).

Conclusions:  Nurses’ clinical care may be influenced by their attitudes and prejudice toward pregnant women with HIV. Nursing education should include how prejudice can affect our clinical decision making and behaviors. Research is needed to explicate the effects on patient outcomes. JOGNN, 36, 398-409; 2007. DOI: 10.1111/J.1552-6909.2007.00172.x