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Why are they worried? Concern about AIDS in rural Malawi


  • FFF1Kirsten P. NNN1Smith

    (University of Pennsylvania)


There are two main types of models of behavioral change. What are collectively referred to as "individual models" are the predominant frameworks for studying risk behaviors including those related to HIV/AIDS. Individual models focus on risk perceptions, attitudes, outcome expectations, perceived norms, and self-efficacy. Models of risk behavior that focus on social or community factors have more recently been developed in response to criticisms of individual models. I use longitudinal data from the Malawi Diffusion and Ideational Change Project to study worry about HIV/AIDS. Specifically, I ask, what factors determine how much a person worries about HIV/AIDS, and are the predominant factors those that individual models would suggest, or are there are other determinants that have a greater impact on worry? I find that levels of network worry and suspected spousal infidelity have the strongest and most robust influence on respondent worry, providing support for the importance of social factors.

Suggested Citation

  • FFF1Kirsten P. NNN1Smith, 2003. "Why are they worried? Concern about AIDS in rural Malawi," Demographic Research Special Collections, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 1(9), pages 279-318, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:dem:drspec:v:1:y:2003:i:9

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Hunt, Charles W., 1996. "Social vs biological: Theories on the transmission of AIDS in Africa," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 42(9), pages 1283-1296, May.
    2. Jere Behrman & Hans-Peter Kohler & Susan Watkins, 2002. "Social networks and changes in contraceptive use over time: Evidence from a longitudinal study in rural Kenya," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 39(4), pages 713-738, November.
    3. Packard, Randall M. & Epstein, Paul, 1991. "Epidemiologists, social scientists, and the structure of medical research on aids in Africa," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 33(7), pages 771-783, January.
    4. London, Andrew S. & Robles, Arodys, 2000. "The co-occurrence of correct and incorrect HIV transmission knowledge and perceived risk for HIV among women of childbearing age in El Salvador," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 51(8), pages 1267-1278, October.
    5. FFF1Simona NNN1Bignami-Van Assche & FFF2Georges NNN2Reniers & FFF2Alexander A. NNN2Weinreb, 2003. "An Assessment of the KDICP and MDICP Data Quality," Demographic Research Special Collections, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 1(2), pages 31-76, September.
    6. repec:aph:ajpbhl:1971:61:6:1208-1224_2 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. McGrath, Janet W. & Rwabukwali, Charles B. & Schumann, Debra A. & Pearson-Marks, Jonnie & Nakayiwa, Sylvia & Namande, Barbara & Nakyobe, Lucy & Mukasa, Rebecca, 1993. "Anthropology and AIDS: The cultural context of sexual risk behavior among urban Baganda women in Kampala, Uganda," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 36(4), pages 429-439, February.
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    Cited by:

    1. Smith, Kirsten P. & Watkins, Susan Cotts, 2005. "Perceptions of risk and strategies for prevention: responses to HIV/AIDS in rural Malawi," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 60(3), pages 649-660, February.
    2. FFF1Christoph NNN1B├╝hler & FFF2Hans-Peter NNN2Kohler, 2003. "Talking about AIDS," Demographic Research Special Collections, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 1(13), pages 397-438, September.
    3. Kim, Jinho, 2016. "The effect of peers on HIV infection expectations among Malawian adolescents: Using an instrumental variables/school fixed effect approach," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 152(C), pages 61-69.

    More about this item


    behavior; behavioral change; HIV/AIDS; individual models; Malawi; models of health behavior; networks; perceived risk; sex behavior; sexual behavior; social models; sub-Saharan Africa; worry;

    JEL classification:

    • J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics
    • Z0 - Other Special Topics - - General


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