Psychological Reporb, 1990, 66, 810.
@ Psychological Reports 1990
MISGIVINGS ABOUT AIDS TRANSMISSION: AN INFORMAL LOOK ' JOHN TRINKAUS AND MUN-BING CHOW
Baruch College Researchers asked 45 medical doctors who were attending a conference on acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) if they would eat chocolate chip cookies baked and sent to them by an appreciative patient who had recently been discharged from the hospital after a lengthy stay for the treatment of AIDS (1). Only 23% said "yes." This result is rather surprising, particularly in the case of physicians, for casual exposure has been studied and dismissed as a route of infection, a finding that has been widely disseminated. To gather some insight as to whether such a response is commonplace among others, an informal inquiry was conducted in the winter of 1989-70. The study was run ar a large public business college in the northeast using a convenience sample of 450 freshmen drawn from a popi~l;~tion of approximately 1750 first-year students, of whom about 60% were women and 40% men, 70% nationals and 30% foreign, and 7% 17 years of age or under, 84% 18 to 20 years, and 9% over 21 years old. The characteristics of those in the sample were as follows: 59% women and 41% men; 55% nationals and 45% foreign; and 4% 17 years of age or under, 67% 18 to 20 years old, 15% 21 to 23 years old, and 14% over 23 years old. Four hundred thirty-five responded to a written question as to whether or not they would eat cookies baked by a friendly AIDS patient who was recently released from a long stay in the hospital. Answering in the affirmative were 36% of the women, 33% of the men, 39% of the nationals, and 29% of the foreign. By age, 44% of those 17 years of age or under answered "yes," as did 38% of those 18 ro 20 years old, 25% of the 21 to 23 year olds, and 39% of those over 23 years old. While there were some differences between groupings, they do appear ro be marked. That the students seemed to be more accepting than the physicians might well suggest that students are more trusting of the findings of the medical profession; they are less disturbed by the seriousness of the disease; and, they have a comparatively higher level of acceptable risk-taking. There appears to be considerable uncertainty across the population as to how AIDS is transmitted. Thls might well be attributable to a swamping of available knowledge by sensationalism and emotionalism: glands overriding the brain. Unfortunately, such a stare of the world is not exactly the best setting in which to cope with this significant health issue. REFERENCE 1. WORMSER,G., & JOLINE, C. Would you ear cookies prepared by an AIDS patient? Postgradzrate Medicine, 1989, 86, 174-186.
Accepted May 11, 1990.
'Address correspondence to J. Trinkaus, Baruch College, 17 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10010.