Date of Conferral

2014

Degree

Ph.D.

School

Public Policy and Administration

Advisor

Christopher Jones

Abstract

Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) disproportionately affect African Americans in the South; given that population's high rate of church attendance, churches have been one potential avenue for HIV/AIDS education. Research has shown the importance of HIV/AIDS education in reducing risk behavior and infection, although church-based HIV/AIDS prevention programs for adults have received little scholarly attention, including the impact of such programs on attitudes, behavioral control, and intention to engage in safe sexual practices. Using Ajzens' theory of planned behavior as a foundation, the purpose of this quantitative study was to explore whether there is a statistically significant difference in attitudes, behavior control, and intention to engage in safe practices as a result of participation in a church program. Survey data were collected from a convenience sample of 132 adult participants, 68 of whom participated in a church-based HIV/AIDS prevention program, and a control group of 64 participants from a congregation without a program. Wilcoxon Ranks Tests were used to analyze the data. The results indicated a statistically significant difference between the experimental and control groups in regards to social norms and perceived behavioral control. There was no significant difference in the attitudes between the 2 groups. Implications for positive social change include informing policy makers and practitioners of the importance of church-based HIV/AIDS prevention programs as an innovative tool for adults to establish more effective HIV/AIDS prevention programs that will positively impact other ethnic groups at higher risk of acquiring the infection and disease.