Psychosocial Antecedents of Needle/Syringe Disinfection by Drug Users

A Theory-Based Prospective Analysis

Published In: AIDS Education and Prevention, v. 9, no. 5, Oct. 1997, p. 442-459

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 1997

by Douglas L. Longshore, Judith Stein, M. Douglas Anglin

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Also examines the AIDS risk-reduction model and other theories of behavior change, focusing on the psychosocial antecedents of needle/syringe disinfection by 136 injection drug users. High perceived self-efficacy for risk education exerted a positive effect on needles/syringe disinfection attempts 1 year later. Self-efficacy was, in turn, related to lower perceived infection risk, peer norms more favorable to risk reduction, and greater knowledge of AIDS. Behavioral intention had no significant effect on subsequent disinfection attempts. These results suggest that disinfecting needles/syringes is partly non-volitional; that high perceived infection risk may be counterproductive to injection risk reduction; and that perceived self-efficacy, but not intention to change behavior, may be a useful leverage point for AIDS preventive intervention. Again, this article demonstrates ways that we can be more effective in our educational activities in preventing the spread of the HIV infection.

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