First Advisor

Lauren Frank

Date of Publication

Spring 8-20-2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Communication




HIV-positive persons, Stigmatization, Attribution (Social psychology)



Physical Description

1 online resource (iv, 74 pages)


Stigmatization of people living with HIV/AIDS is considered a major barrier to the treatment and prevention of HIV/AIDS. Attribution theorists have examined stigmatizing attitudes as a product of causal emotions; to wit, people face greater judgment and stigmatization when their actions are perceived as controllable and less stigmatization when actions are perceived as out of the realms of personal control. The current study examined attribution of causal emotions for three different circumstances of HIV acquisition, which varied in their perceived controllability. The results showed statistically significant differences in participant evaluations of responsibility, blame, and anger. Statistically significant correlations were found between these causal emotions and stigmatizing attitudes. A weak, but statistically significant inverse correlation was found between knowledge about HIV and stigmatizing attitudes. Recommendations for improved stigma reduction campaign design based on the results of the study are proposed.

Persistent Identifier

Included in

Communication Commons