Journal of Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 14, Issue 5, pp 429–451 | Cite as

AIDS-related health behavior: Coping, protection motivation, and previous behavior

  • Frank W. Van der Velde
  • Joop Van der Pligt


The purpose of this study was to examine Rogers' protection motivation theory and aspects of Janis and Mann's conflict theory in the context of AIDS-related health behavior. Subjects were 84 heterosexual men and women and 147 homosexual men with multiple sexual partners; LISREL's path-analysis techniques were used to evaluate the goodness of fit of the structural equation models. Protection motivation theory did fit the data but had considerably more explanatory power for heterosexual than for homosexual subjects (49 vs. 22%, respectively). When coping styles were added, different patterns of findings were found among both groups. Adding variables such as social norms and previous behavior increased the explained variance to 73% for heterosexual subjects and to 44% for homosexual subjects. It was concluded that although protection motivation theory did fit the data fairly adequately, expanding the theory with other variables-especially those related to previous behavior-could improve our understanding of AIDS-related health behavior.

Key words

AIDS protection motivation coping heterosexuals homosexuals 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Bauman, L. J., and Siegel, K. (1987). Misperceptions among gay man of the risk for AIDS associated with their sexual behavior.J. Appl. Soc. Psych. 17: 329–350.Google Scholar
  2. Bentler, P. M., and Speckart, G. (1979). Models of attitude-behavior relations.Psych. Rev. 86: 452–464.Google Scholar
  3. Chaiken, S., and Stangor, C. (1987). Attitudes and attitude change.Annu. Rev. Psych. 38: 575–630.Google Scholar
  4. Janis, I. L. (1986). Coping patterns among patients with life-threatening diseases. In Spielberger, C. D., Sarason, I. G. (eds.),Stress and Anxiety, Hemisphere, Washington, DC, pp. 462–476.Google Scholar
  5. Janis, I. L., and Mann, L. (1977).Decision Making: A Psychological Analysis of Conflict, Choice, and Commitment, Free Press, New York.Google Scholar
  6. Jöreskog, K. G., and Sörbom, D. (1983). LISREL VI:Analysis of Linear Structural Relationships by the Method of Maximum Likelihood, Department of Statistics, University of Uppsala, Uppsala.Google Scholar
  7. Joseph, J. G., Montgomery, S. B., Emmons, C. A., Kessler, R. C., Ostrow, D. G.,et al., (1987a). Magnitude and determinants of behavioral risk reduction: Longitudinal analysis of a cohort at risk for AIDS.Psychol. Health 1: 73–96.Google Scholar
  8. Joseph, J. G., Montgomery, S. B., Emmons, C. A., Kirscht, J. P., Kessler, R. C.,et al. (1987b). Perceived risk of AIDS: Assessing the behavioral and psychological consequences in a cohort of gay men.J. Appl. Soc. Psychol. 17: 231–250.Google Scholar
  9. Lazarus, R. S., and Launier, R. (1978). Stress related transactions between person and environment. In Pervin, L. A. and Lewis, M. (eds.),Perspectives in Interactional Psychology, Plenum Press, New York, pp. 287–327.Google Scholar
  10. Leventhal, H. (1971). Fear appeals and persuasion: The differentiation of a motivational construct.Am. J. Public Health 61: 1208–1224.Google Scholar
  11. Maddux, J. E., and Rogers, R. W. (1983). Protection motivation and self-efficacy: A revised theory of fear appeals and attitude chance.J. Exp. Soc. Psychol. 19: 469–479.Google Scholar
  12. McNeil, J. G., Brundage, J. F., Wann, Z. F., Burke, D. S., Miller, R. N.,et al. (1989). Direct measurement of human immunodeficiency virus seroconversions in a serially tested population of young adults in the United States Army, October 1985 to October 1987.New Engl. J. Med. 320: 1581–1585.Google Scholar
  13. Parkes, K. R. (1986). Coping in stressful episodes: The role of individual differences, environmental factors, and situational characteristics.J. Personal. Soc. Psychol. 51: 1277–1292.Google Scholar
  14. Prentice-Dunn, S., and Jacobs, B. (1986). Effects of self-awareness and expectancies on behavioral intentions: Integrating self-efficacy theory and control theory.Psychol. Rep. 58: 143–147.Google Scholar
  15. Rippetoe, P. A., and Rogers, R. W. (1987). Effects of components of protection-motivation theory on adaptive and maladaptive coping with a health threat.J. Personal. Soc. Psychol. 52: 596–604.Google Scholar
  16. Rogers, R. W. (1975). A protection motivation theory of fear appeals and attitudes change.J. Psychol. 91: 93–114.Google Scholar
  17. Rogers, R. W. (1983). Cognitive and physiological processes in attitude change: A revised theory of protection motivation. In Cacioppo, J., and Petty, R. (eds.),Social Psychophysiology, Guilford Press, New York, pp. 153–176.Google Scholar
  18. Rogers, R. W., and Mewborn, C. R. (1976). Fear appeals and attitude change: Effects of a threat's noxiousness, probability of occurrence, and the efficacy of coping responses.J. Personal. Soc. Psychol. 34: 54–61.Google Scholar
  19. Sutton, S. E. (1982). Fear arousing communications: A critical examination of theory and research. In Eiser, J. R. (ed.),Social Psychology and Behavioral Medicine, Wiley, New York, pp. 303–337.Google Scholar
  20. Weinstein, N. D. (1982). Unrealistic optimism about susceptibility to health problems.J. Behav. Med. 5: 441–460.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Frank W. Van der Velde
    • 1
  • Joop Van der Pligt
    • 1
  1. 1.University of AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands

Personalised recommendations