The effects of using fear in public aids education on the behaviour of homosexually active men

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Abstract

AIDS Education is a wide ranging term which can embrace a number of different strategies to promote sexual behaviour change. This paper compares the behaviour of male homosexually active volunteers in two countries; one group being exposed to a fear based public education campaign (the Australian Grim Reaper Public AIDS Campaign, n = 77), the other group being cither exposed to a variety of gay sensitive, sexually positive material or allocated to a control group (in New Zealand, n = 159). At baseline, approximately 75% of both samples reporting engaging exclusively in safer sex behaviour. At follow-up, while the percentage of those practicing safer sex behaviour significantly increased to 83% in those exposed to the gay sensitive material and control, the prevalence of safer sex among those who experienced the fear based program, decreased dramatically to 47%. These findings, supported by previous research on the effects of fear, highlight the dangers of using fear based programs on the behaviour of those most at risk.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)123-134
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Psychology and Human Sexuality
Volume4
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 29 1992

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