“They're Scared of It”: Intergroup Determinants of Attitudes Toward Children With HIV1


  • 1

    This research was conducted as part of a final-year undergraduate project by the third author. The authors would like to thank Greg Maio, Miles Hewstone, and two anonymous reviewers for their very helpful comments on an earlier draft.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Katy Greenland, School of Social Sciences, Cardiff University, Cardiff CF10 3WT, United Kingdom. e-mail: GreenlandKA@Cardiff.ac.uk


The study used an intergroup perspective to explore teachers’ willingness to teach children with HIV within mainstream education. One hundred thirty-eight teachers from 13 high schools across the United Kingdom participated in a survey. The results suggest that previous contact with an individual who was HIV positive (whether an adult or a child) was strongly associated with greater willingness to teach a child with HIV. However, this effect disappeared when intergroup anxiety, positive affect, and positive beliefs were included as covariates. There was little evidence that instrumental variables (i.e., relatively pragmatic concerns about infection) were associated with willingness to teach. Participants who had some contact reported lower fear of contagion from a child with HIV, but there was no evidence that this was associated with overall attitudes. The results are interpreted to suggest that interventions to reduce prejudice should not simply concentrate on improving knowledge about HIV transmission.