An examination of the association between college students' perceptions of Internet and health educator credibility and HIV screening
1 online resource (44 pages) : PDF
University of North Carolina at Charlotte
Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) remain a significant worldwide public health issue, especially for young adults and college students. Epidemiological evidence among this demographic indicate high rates of risky sexual behaviors and low levels of HIV testing. The current study examined students’ perceptions of health educator and Internet credibility in relation to ever being screened for HIV. This cross-sectional study was a secondary data analysis of the Spring 2008 National College Health Assessment-I (NCHA-I). After excluding students who reported not being sexually active, were not a current undergraduate, had missing data, and students who did not know or recall being tested for HIV infection, the final analytic sample size consisted of 61,918 student participants. Logistic regression was used to model the crude association between health educator and Internet credibility in relation to ever being tested for HIV. Of the students analyzed, only 26.9% reported ever being tested for HIV infection. In the unadjusted analyses, students who perceived health educators as credible had 9% increased odds of ever being screened for HIV (OR=1.09; 95% CI: 1.03-1.16). Similarly, students who perceived the Internet as credible had 10% increased odds of ever being screened for HIV (OR=1.10; 95% CI: 1.06-1.15). After adjusting for age, gender, and sexual preference the relationship between health educator and Internet credibility and ever being tested for HIV infection persisted. Students who perceived health educators as credible had 8% increased odds of ever being screened for HIV (OR=1.08; 95% CI: 1.02-1.15). Likewise, students who perceived the Internet as a credible source had 11% increased odds of ever being screened for HIV (OR=1.11; 95% CI: 1.07-1.16). These findings are suggestive for potential programmatic considerations and future research. Future studies should examine the use and believability of health information sources by topics that are most trusted by college students. Because college students consistently find health educators to be a credible source to acquire health information, the expansion of programs delivered by health educators should be a programmatic consideration. Lastly, because health literacy is broadly defined as the ability to discern credible information sources (Zarcadoolas, Pleasant, & Greer, 2005), health literacy should be a high priority item in the college curriculum so that students are good information consumers.
Huber, LarissaZuber, Pilar
Thesis (M.S.)--University of North Carolina at Charlotte, 2015.
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