HIV/AIDS-related social anxieties in adolescents in three african countries

Jennifer L. Venier, Michael W. Ross, Adebowale Akande

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24 Scopus citations


This study examines the social anxieties associated with HIV prevention in adolescents in three African countries (Nigeria, Kenya, and Zimbabwe). The subjects used in this study were black were black Africans in form 2 or grade 10 in public high schools (Nigeria, n = 387; Kenya, n = 274; Zimbabwe n = 313). Subjects responded to the 33 item AIDS Social Assertiveness Scale (ASAS). Data indicated similar factor structures for each of the three countries and included five factors. The combined sample factor intercorrelations were modestly but significantly correlated. The mean scores for each factor were compared, and ANOVA of the factors by country, by gender, and by interaction between country and gender were performed. The factor structures were very similar between countries, each including five factors that had similar themes: condom interactions, refusal of risk, confiding in significant others, contact with people with HIV/AIDS, and general assertiveness. These factor structures were also very similar to one found in previous studies of Australian adolescents on the ASAS. The Kenyan means for four of the five factors were significantly lower than those for Nigeria, and were also significantly lower than the Zimbabwean means for two of the five factors, suggesting that Kenyan students are less anxious about social situations related to HIV/AIDS than others. Significant variance was found for several factors due to gender, country, and the interaction between gender and country. These results have important implications for designing education programs. The similarities of anxieties regarding HIV/AIDS social situations suggest that these clusters of social barriers to reduction of HIV infection risk might form the basis of educational interventions, and that dimensions of HIV social anxieties are similar across countries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)313-320
Number of pages8
JournalSocial Science and Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 1998


  • Adolescents
  • Africa
  • HIV prevention
  • Social anxieties


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