Fear of AIDS: Assessment and implications for promoting safer sex

Robert A Bell, Fred Molitor, Neil M. Flynn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Two studies were conducted to develop a multidimensional measure of AIDS-related fears. A Fear of AIDS Instrument (FAT) was administered to 608 clients undergoing HIV testing at an anonymous test site. Factor analyses identified eight foci of fear: Infection Fear, becoming infected through Partner Betrayal, the Economic Consequences of infection, Society's Response to the AIDS crisis, Testing Concerns, worries about becoming infected through Casual Contact, the safety of Medical Procedures, and Safe Sex Communication Apprehension. All scales exhibited acceptable reliabilities and several sex differences were identified. In a second study, the FAT was revised and then administered to 669 undergraduates, along with other AIDS-related constructs. These eight dimensions of fear were again identified and preliminary evidence of construct validity was obtained. Implications for AIDS prevention message design are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)135-147
Number of pages13
JournalAIDS and Behavior
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1999


  • AIDS
  • Fear
  • Health promotion
  • HIV
  • Infidelity
  • Safer sex

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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