A study to assess the knowledge about AIDS held by mental health counselors Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/4f16c655p

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  • The purposes of this study were to assess mental health counselors' knowledge of AIDS and to determine the effect of various independent variables upon knowledge. The variables used were gender, professional contact with PWAs, personal contact with PWAs, age, sexual preference, AIDS training, and personal acquaintance with a person who is homosexual. A sample of 358 mental health counselors was chosen randomly from the current membership of the American Mental Health Counseling Association which is a division of the American Association for Counseling and Development. Data were collected through a self-administered questionnaire which included a 32-item true-false knowledge test on the transmission, epidemiology, and treatment of AIDS as well as general information about AIDS. Chi-square, t-tests and multiple regression analyses were used at the .05 level of significance to determine the relationship between the variables and degree of knowledge. Mental health counselors scored quite high on most of the knowledge questions with a mean percentage score of 93% had a higher knowledge score on epidemiology than females, yet, when the total knowledge score was examined, there was not a significant difference. Respondents who had provided professional services to persons with AIDS within the past year had higher scores for both the sub-section on transmission and total knowledge. Subjects who had been personally acquainted with someone who had been diagnosed with AIDS showed a higher degre of knowledge, whereas acquaintance with someone who is homosexual seemed to have no direct relationship. Although age did not have an effect on knowledge, homosexual mental health counselors had a greater degree of knowledge about AIDS than heterosexuals, and mental health counselors who have had AIDS training have more knowledge of AIDS then those who have not. Results indicated that there were no significant differences in means between knowledge of AIDS and such factors as religion, work setting, professional degree and geographic area of residence. However, there was a significant relationship between knowledge of community resources and level of knowledge of AIDS. The study results were reviewed in light of the literature on AIDS and knowledge of AIDS among various professional and non-professional groups. Implications and recommendations for counselor education and clinical practice as a result of this study are presented.
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