Public Release: 

Gender affects reaction to HIV-prevention materials

Both sexes avoided gender-mismatched material, women more likely to choose brochures tailored to their gender

Wiley

Champaign, IL - June 10, 2008 -Various intervention strategies have been implemented to curb the rise of HIV, and a factor that might affect exposure to interventionsis gender. A new study in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology reviewed the behavior of participants exposed to various HIV brochures. Researchers found that both men and women were likely to avoid gender-mismatched brochures. Women, however, were more likely to approach gender-matched brochures over gender-neutral brochures.

Kathleen C. McCulloch and Dolores Albarracin of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and Marta R. Duranti from the University of Florida looked at the behavior of 350 volunteers consisting of both men and women who were African American, European American, or Latino, with over half having an average income under $10,000.

Participants were exposed to six HIV-prevention brochures, two of which were gender-targeted and four of which were gender-neutral. The study was conducted at the Florida Department of Health in Alachua County. Participants were then given the chance to watch an HIV-prevention video and participate in an HIV-prevention counseling session.

Both men and women avoided gender-mismatched brochures. Women were more likely than men to choose brochures tailored to their gender. Overall involvement with or exposure to the female-specific brochure predicted accepting the video element of the intervention. This pattern was only the case for females, and not for males for the male-specific brochure.

The study also found overwhelming gender differences in exposure to the intervention. Women read more brochures, were more involved in reading, and retained more information from all six brochures than did men. Women also were more deeply absorbed by the video and retained more information from it than did men.

"As the incidence of HIV is rising in the female population, understanding how to facilitate women's participation in effective HIV risk-reduction interventions is crucial to public health," the authors conclude.

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The study was funded by the National Institute of Nursing Research.

This study is published in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology. Media wishing to receive a PDF of this article may contact journalnews@bos.blackwellpublishing.net.

Kathleen C. McCulloch is affiliated with the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and can be reached for questions at kcmcc@uiuc.edu.

Published since 1971, Journal of Applied Social Psychology is a monthly publication devoted to applications of experimental behavioral science research to problems of society (e.g., organizational and leadership psychology, safety, health, and gender issues; perceptions of war and natural hazards; jury deliberation; performance, AIDS, cancer, heart disease, exercise, and sports).

Wiley-Blackwell was formed in February 2007 as a result of the acquisition of Blackwell Publishing Ltd. by John Wiley & Sons, Inc., and its merger with Wiley's Scientific, Technical, and Medical business. Together, the companies have created a global publishing business with deep strength in every major academic and professional field. Wiley-Blackwell publishes approximately 1,400 scholarly peer-reviewed journals and an extensive collection of books with global appeal. For more information on Wiley-Blackwell, please visit www.blackwellpublishing.com or http://interscience.wiley.com .

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