Individual attitudes and perceived social norms: Reports on HIV/AIDS-related stigma among service providers in China

Li Li, Li-Jung Liang, Chunqing Lin, Zunyou Wu, Yi Wen
International Journal of Psychology: Journal International de Psychologie 2009, 44 (6): 443-50
This study examined HIV/AIDS-related stigma among Chinese service providers by comparing their personal attitudes toward people living with HIV/AIDS with their perception of social norms related to people living with HIV/AIDS. We randomly selected three provincial hospitals, four city/prefecture hospitals, 10 county hospitals,18 township health clinics, and 54 village clinics from Yunnan, China. Doctors and nurses were randomly sampled proportionally to the doctor–nurse ratio of each hospital or clinic. Lab technicians were over-sampled in order to include an adequate representation in the analysis. A total of 1,101 service providers participated in a voluntary,anonymous survey where demographic characteristics, individual attitude and perceived social norms toward people living with HIV/AIDS, discrimination intent at work, general prejudicial attitude and knowledge on HIV/AIDS were measured. A majority of the sample demonstrated a similarity between their personal views and what they thought most people in society believe. Multiple logistic regressions revealed that participants who were younger or reported personal contact with people living with HIV/AIDS were significantly more likely to report personal attitudes toward the population that were more liberal than their perceived social norms. Holding a more liberal personal attitude toward people living with HIV/AIDS than perceived social norms was significantly and negatively related to the level of discrimination intent at work, perceived discrimination at interpersonal level and the level of general prejudicial attitude toward people living with HIV/AIDS. Results underscored the importance of understanding social norms and personal attitudes in studying HIV-related stigma and called for the incorporation of existing human capital into future HIV stigma reduction programs.

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