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Mexican-American and Anglo-American Children's Responsiveness to a Theory-Centered AIDS Education Program

Carol Sigelman, Eileen Derenowski, Teresa Woods, Takayo Mukai, Corinne Alfeld-Liro, Olga Durazo and Amy Maddock
Child Development
Vol. 67, No. 2 (Apr., 1996), pp. 253-266
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Society for Research in Child Development
DOI: 10.2307/1131812
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1131812
Page Count: 14
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Mexican-American and Anglo-American Children's Responsiveness to a Theory-Centered AIDS Education Program
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Abstract

Third, fifth, and seventh graders, most of them Mexican-American, were exposed to an empirically based and culturally sensitive AIDS curriculum designed to replace their intuitive theories with a coherent, scientific account of the causal processes that lead from risk behavior to AIDS symptomatology. Compared to students in control classes, experimental students knew more about AIDS risk factors and AIDS generally, displayed more conceptual understanding of the causes of AIDS and flu, and were more willing to interact with people who have AIDS (although not less worried about AIDS) at posttest and typically at follow-up 10-11 months later. The findings point to the potential value of adopting an intuitive theories approach in assessing and modifying children's concepts of health and illness and suggest, contrary to Piagetian formulations, that even relatively young children can, with appropriate instruction, grasp scientific theories of disease.

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