People with AIDS are often blamed for their infection because of either their behavior or their character. The present study investigated attributions of blame towards people with AIDS. Undergraduate students from California State University, Long Beach (N = 96) completed an online questionnaire assessing the effect of mode of transmission (IV drug use, unsafe sex, blood transfusion, and birth), sexual orientation (homosexual, heterosexual and bisexual), target gender and participant gender on ratings of the target's behavioral and characterological blame for contracting AIDS. Behavioral blame was measured by a Responsibility Scale and characterological blame was measured by Osgood's Semantic Differential Scale. For both behavioral and characterological blame, people infected by IV drug use and unsafe sex were blamed more than those infected by a blood transfusion and born with AIDS (p < .05), regardless of sexual orientation. These findings show that behavioral blame is preferable to characterological blame since it provides a direct explanation for the infection.
|School:||California State University, Long Beach|
|School Location:||United States -- California|
|Source:||MAI 48/02M, Masters Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Social psychology, Experimental psychology|
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