Social Workers’ Perceptions of Working with People who have HIV/AIDS
Prock, Kristen A.
Cummings, Cristy E.
Hindes, Kailey L.
Hughes, Anne K.
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This article presents the results of a cross-sectional online survey sent to a national sample of licensed social workers to examine their attitudes toward individuals living with HIV/AIDS. The survey included the AIDS Attitude Scale (Froman, Owen & Daisy, 1992), the HIV Knowledge Questionnaire-18 (Carey & Schroder, 2002), and the Modern Homonegativity Scale (Morrison & Morrison, 2002). Factors related to education, training, and other personal characteristics are explored. In this sample, 45% of the social workers indicated that more education and training would be beneficial to them in their current position, and greater HIV knowledge was associated with more positive attitudes toward people living with HIV/AIDS. Additionally, 57% of those surveyed indicated knowing someone personally who has HIV/AIDS, and demonstrated overall higher scores on empathy, and lower scores on avoidance. Those social workers who had higher avoidance of people living with HIV/AIDS were also found to be higher in homonegativity. The findings of this study add to the body of knowledge regarding social work attitudes, and provide further insight into an area with little existing data. The authors propose further research to identify causes of attitudes, potential gender and cultural differences, and the impact of the National Association of Social Workers Code of Ethics on social workers’ attitudes.
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