This study was supported by grants from the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the University of Windsor, and the Psychology Department at Cornell University. We thank Barry Adam, Charlene Senn, Sandra Trehub, and two anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments on earlier versions of the manuscript, and Vivian Zayas and Renée Cormier for their assistance in data collection and analysis.
“Innocent Victims” of AIDS: Identifying the Subtext1
Article first published online: 31 JUL 2006
Journal of Applied Social Psychology
Volume 25, Issue 20, pages 1790–1800, October 1995
How to Cite
Schellenberg, E. G., Keil, J. M. and Bem, S. L. (1995), “Innocent Victims” of AIDS: Identifying the Subtext. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 25: 1790–1800. doi: 10.1111/j.1559-1816.1995.tb01818.x
- Issue published online: 31 JUL 2006
- Article first published online: 31 JUL 2006
References to “innocent victims” of AIDS in the media and public discourse imply that other people with AIDS or HIV are blameworthy. In the present study, college undergraduates read two newspaper articles about an “innocent victim” of AIDS, and were required to report what they understood to be the “victim's” message. Very few participants reported the subtext without prompting. When asked directly, however, most respondents (88%) agreed that the “victim” was making an implicit statement about other people with AIDS, and 70% of this subgroup correctly identified the subtext. Compared to other respondents, those who identified the subtext had more positive attitudes toward homosexuals.