Wednesday, July 29, 2009

College Students Who Feel 'Invincible' Unlikely To Accept STD Vaccines

I am glad the article gave the researchers definition of feeling "invulnerable to psychological harm", because it was not what I would have expected. And it makes the results more understandable.

ScienceDaily (July 29, 2009) — Vaccines to protect against sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV and herpes, are being developed and may soon be available to college students. However, limited research has been conducted to determine if students will accept the vaccines once they are available. In a new study, a University of Missouri researcher has found that students who feel invulnerable, or invincible, to physical harm are unlikely to get an HIV vaccine.

Alternately, students who feel invulnerable to psychological harm are more likely to get the vaccine.
In the study, Ravert measured two invulnerability factors: danger and psychological. Students with increased danger invulnerability, those who viewed themselves as physically invincible, were more likely to decline the vaccine. One explanation is that strong feelings of danger invulnerability may be associated with decreased threat, which can diminish protective behaviors, Ravert said.

Students who felt psychological invulnerability, those who didn't care what others thought, were more likely to accept a vaccine. Students' psychological invulnerability may protect against the possible stigma associated with getting vaccinated for HIV, or other sexually transmitted diseases, Ravert said.
In the study, the strongest predictor of vaccine acceptance was students' perceived susceptibility to contracting HIV, followed by their number of sexual partners. Students' decisions also were influenced by the cost of the vaccine.

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