Thesis

Examining HIV-related avoidance behavior through stigma and conservatism

The aim of the present study was to fit data to a structural equation model that includes conservatism, HIV-related stigma, and avoidance behavior. An exploratory factor analysis was performed, and a subsequent structural model was created with conservatism directly relating to avoidance and indirectly affecting avoidance through HIV-related stigma. Results showed that though the chi-square was significant, the structural model resulted in good model fit. In the full model, positive pathways were found between all latent variables, though the direct path between conservatism and avoidance was not significant in the full model. When tested alone, it was found that the pathway between conservatism and avoidance was significant and positive, and further tests indicated full mediation with 45.6% of the effect of avoidance mediated through stigma. Replication studies should be performed to validate these results, and future research should focus on expanding the avoidance latent variable by including HIV-testing rates.

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