Requests for reprints should be sent to John B. Pryor, Department of Psychology, Illinois State University, Normal, IL 61761.
The Instrumental and Symbolic Functions of Attitudes toward Persons with AIDS1
Article first published online: 31 JUL 2006
Journal of Applied Social Psychology
Volume 19, Issue 5, pages 377–404, April 1989
How to Cite
Pryor, J. B., Reeder, G. D., Vinacco, R. and Kott, T. L. (1989), The Instrumental and Symbolic Functions of Attitudes toward Persons with AIDS. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 19: 377–404. doi: 10.1111/j.1559-1816.1989.tb00062.x
The research reported in this article was supported by a grant from the Office of Research, Services and Grants, Illinois State University. Gratitude is expressed to the following people who contributed to this research program: Dennis Kelly, Kathyrn Anderson, John Dale, Jennifer Farm, Michelle Foucre, Rebecca House, William Kaminski, Julie Loveless, Cynthia Meisinger, Joanne Panariello, Rhonda Podbielski, Mark Rossmiller and Jennifer Smith. We also thank Larry Alferink, Sam Hutter, Steve Landau, Nan Pressor and Walter Vernon who commented on an earlier draft of this article. Study 3 is based on a Masters Thesis submitted by Richard Vinacco for a Masters degree in Psychology at Illinois State University.
- Issue published online: 31 JUL 2006
- Article first published online: 31 JUL 2006
Five studies explored the psychological bases of attitudes toward persons afflicted with Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). These studies examined both instrumental and symbolic bases of these attitudes. In Studies 1, 2, and 3, both instrumental factors (e.g., beliefs about the probability of one's own child contracting AIDS) and symbolic factors (general attitudes toward homosexuality) independently contributed to the prediction of attitudes toward having one's child attend classes with a nonhomosexual person having AIDS. In Study 4, only attitudes toward homosexuality (symbolic factors) and not beliefs about contagiousness related to students' expressing a desire to transfer from a class with an AIDS-infected professor. In Study 5, subjects role played the situation experienced by subjects in Study 4. A wider array of instrumental concerns was assessed. While both instrumental and symbolic factors were related to attitudes of role-playing subjects, the specific instrumental concerns of importance were related to beliefs about subjects' feeling comfortable with the professor and not the contagiousness of AIDS. Thus, these results paralleled those of Study 4. These findings are discussed with regard to their relevance for understanding the varying functions of attitudes and for understanding the stigmatization of disease victims.