Dissertations and Theses @ UNI

Award Winner

Recipient of the 1994 Outstanding Master's Thesis Award - Third Place.

To go to the Graduate Student Award Recipients collection page, click here.


Open Access Thesis


Teenagers--Health risk assessment; AIDS (Disease) in adolescence--Prevention;


The purpose of this study was to replicate Hays's (1992) methodology and extend her sample size. Replication of Hays's (1992) results would allow for generalization and would lend support to the path model of sexual activity she proposed.

Subjects for the study were 529 ninth grade students attending four schools in a rural midwestern state. Of the four schools, three were public schools and one was a parochial school. The parochial school was made up of two separate buildings, one located in a metropolitan area and the other in a rural area. Although the buildings were considered to be combined as one school, each building employed different personnel and was attended by different students. Of the public schools, two were located in a rural area and the remaining school was located in a metropolitan area. In the three public schools, the subjects for the study were enrolled in social studies. In the remaining parochial school, the subjects attending one building were enrolled in world history, while those attending the other building were enrolled in theology. These courses were mandatory requirements of all ninth grade students.

The sample was surveyed by means of a questionnaire compiled by Hays (1992). This questionnaire was a combination of two previously developed questionnaires: the Susceptibility to Peer Pressure, Self-Esteem, and Health Locus of Control questionnaire developed by T. E. Dielman, and a questionnaire developed by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

The data were statistically analyzed in accordance with Hays's (1992) methodology and were then cast into her path model. Of the six independent variables in the model, three were found to have a significant, direct relationship to sexual activity. Locus of control had a significant relationship to attitude, and self-esteem had an indirect relationship to sexual activity through perceived vulnerability. The most significant independent variable was peer pressure, which was a negative relationship, followed by perceived vulnerability, and knowledge. There were no significant gender differences in sexual activity. Factor analysis revealed the need for further work on the survey instrument. Targeting specific psychosocial factors influencing adolescents' behavioral choices, appears to provide direction for AIDS prevention education.

Year of Submission


Year of Award

1994 Award

Degree Name

Specialist in Education


Department of Educational Psychology and Foundations

First Advisor

Donald Schmits, Chair, Committee


If you are the rightful copyright holder of this thesis and wish to have it removed from the Open Access Collection, please submit an email request to scholarworks@uni.edu. Include your name and clearly identify the thesis by full title and author as shown on the work.

Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (vii, 101 pages)



File Format