Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Counseling Psychology

First Advisor

Rosalie Corona


Despite an increase in interventions targeted at lowering the rate of HIV/AIDS among college students, the rate of HIV/AIDS infections has not decreased. The purpose of this study was to identify factors (i.e., HIV-sexual knowledge, self-positivity bias, peer norms, acculturation, perceived risk of HIV, HIV-related stigma, and condom use) that may affect condom use among college students who live in an area where the prevalence of HIV is relatively high. The current study utilized a sexually active sample (N=397) of diverse college students (predominantly African American and White) in an urban setting to examine the relationships. Path analysis was used to explore hypotheses. Results indicated that students who endorsed higher levels of self-positivity bias were more likely than other students to report not using condoms the last time they had sex and to perceive themselves at less risk of HIV/AIDS infection. In addition, students who reported unsupportive peer norms regarding safe sex practices perceived themselves at a higher risk of HIV/AIDS. With respect to gender differences, females reported more stigma towards individuals with HIV/AIDS than males, and males reported more perceived risk of HIV/AIDS than females. Lastly, African American college students perceived themselves to be at greater risk of contracting HIV/AIDS than other students and minority students endorsed greater stigma towards individuals with HIV/AIDS than White students. Results emphasize the need for college HIV/AIDS interventions to target peer norms and personal bias as well as cultural and gender differences that might impact condom use.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

August 2013