Adolescent Males' Knowledge and Attitudes About AIDS in The Context of Their Social World1


  • 1

    This research was funded by Special Education Program, U.S. D.O.E. #G008530277.

Correspondence concerning this article should be sent to Douglas Bell, College of Education, The University of Illinois at Chicago, Box 4348, Chicago, IL 60680.


This study sought to find out how much total knowledge adolescents had concerning AIDS, what particular areas of knowledge were deficient, and how those areas might be related to attitudes and experiences in their social world. Seventy-eight adolescent males from one suburban and three urban high schools were interviewed. A 101-item questionnaire was used to assess: a) overall knowledge about AIDS; b) attitudes about sexuality, drugs, death, and AIDS and; c) related aspects of their social world, i.e., number of IV drug users known, and sources of information about AIDS. Analyses of variance were performed on overall knowledge of AIDS and on five content areas of knowledge. Race was shown to relate to significant differences in the knowledge scores. The social world associated with the urban samples were discussed as risk factors for minority youth. Different attitudes related to strengths and weaknesses in different areas of knowledge. Attitudes associated with deficiencies in different subareas of knowledge were discussed as additional risk factors and as presenting target areas for AIDS education efforts.