All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Brian Geiger

Advisory Committee Members

Gwendolyn D Childs

John Dantzler

Laura T Forbes

Mirjam-Colette Kempf

Document Type

Dissertation

Date of Award

2013

Degree Name by School

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) School of Education

Abstract

Globally, 340 million people are affected by HIV/AIDS. Approximately 50,000 are newly infected within the United States each year with HIV. One in five of those infected is unaware of his/her status. Young adults are particularly impacted by the disease; 39% of new HIV infections are diagnosed in individuals between the ages of 13 and 29. To comprehensively examine the independent and interrelated determinants of HIV/STI risks among young adults, the researcher developed, validated, and psychometrically examined a self-report instrument guided by constructs from the Social Ecological Model (SEM). Development and validation of the content within the survey was conducted using a six-phase qualitative and quantitative methodology. Proportional stratified sampling was used to attain a representative sample of 2-year and 4-year academic institutions from which participants (N = 728) for Phase VI (final administration) were recruited. An exploratory factor analysis using principal component analysis (PCA) with an orthogonal varimax rotation was conducted to explore the latent structure of the instrument. A 9-factor solution consistent with the theoretical framework was maintained. Components accounted for 52% of the total variance. Calculated estimates of internal consistency revealed reliable scales representative of the Intrapersonal (i.e. attitudes and beliefs, condom use); Interpersonal (i.e. parent communication, partner communication); Institutional (i.e. campus resources); and Societal (i.e. policy) domains. Cronbach alpha coefficients ranged from α = 0.62 to α = 0.81. Bivariate correlations and regression analyses were performed to assess determinants of HIV/STI risk among participants and further analyze predictive utility of identified scales. Independent variables for correlation analyses were taken from each theoretical construct. The dependent variable, HIV/STI risk, was defined by a summated score using five behavioral practices. Significant risk correlations were found within each theoretical domain. Multiple regression models with factors extracted during PCA accounted for a total of 21% of variance within the dependent variable. Several recommendations for research and policy are provided.

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