The current study investigated how college students perceive their vulnerability to Sexually Transmitted Disease (STDs). It was hypothesized that if an individual is depressed, anxious, or hopeless he/she will be more likely to perceive themselves to be susceptible to disease. The sample consisted of 100 UNI student volunteers, between the ages of 18 and 23. Participants were administered four vignettes which described sexual encounters, and were asked to rate the likelihood of contracting a STD. Students' perceived vulnerability was then correlated with depression, anxiety, hopelessness, health locus of control and causal attribution. Statistical analyses showed that depression, hopelessness and anxiety are not significantly correlated with perceived vulnerability to future illness. However, there is a positive correlation between students' perceived susceptibility and internality of their health locus of control. This indicates that individuals who think their behavior affects the situation and the consequences are also more pessimistic when evaluating sexual encounters presented in the vignettes, and see the likelihood of a negative outcome to unprotected sexual behavior.
Conference Proceedings: Undergraduate Social Science Research Conference
©1999 by the University of Northern Iowa
University of Northern Iowa
Cedar Falls, IA
"College Students' Perceived Vulnerability to Future Illness of a Sexual Nature,"
Conference Proceedings: Undergraduate Social Science Research Conference: Vol. 3:
1, Article 28.
Available at: https://scholarworks.uni.edu/csbsproceedings/vol3/iss1/28