Despite the best efforts of media-based health campaigns, many sexually active college students fail to discuss AIDS-prevention specifics with sexual partners. Moreover, some studies indicate that sexual partners who do talk about AIDS may actually enhance their risk (Cline, Johnson, & Freeman, 1992). This article argues that interpersonal researchers can help AIDS educators rectify this situation by (a) creating normative models of competent AIDS talk, (b) grounding studies in existing theories of message production, and (c) examining the role of peer discussion in personalizing AIDS risk and modeling strategies for AIDS talk. This study is one in a series investigating how planning helps interactants discuss potentially threatening topics (Cegala & Waldron, 1992; Waldron, 1990; Waldron, Cegala, Sharkey, & Teboul, 1990). Data from 60 conversations of college-age peers revealed that the quality and quantity of interactants' plans predicted their success in eliciting highly specific discussion of AIDS risks and preventive behaviors. This increase in effectiveness was gained without a corresponding reduction in partner perceptions of social appropriateness. Implications for peer-based AIDS education are discussed.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health(social science)