Edith Cowan University
Place of Publication
Perth, Western Australia
Hepatitis C is referred to as a blood borne virus and transmission is possible when there is blood to bloodcontact. In Australia one person is exposed to hepatitis C every hour of every day. Attempts to increase knowledge and change attitudes towards hepatitis C in the community have been limited, particularly among target groups such as young people. It seems the majority of hepatitis C education and prevention efforts have focused on the provision of information (cognitions) to increase awareness and reduce engagement in risk behaviours (Brown, Perlmutter & McDermott, 2000; Munoz-Plaza, Strauss, Astone, Jarlais & Hagan, 2004). In contrast, successful health campaigns have included the role of affect (emotion) along with cognitions, as a way to increase knowledge, understand attitudes and influence behaviour towards various health issues rather than limiting to the provision of cognitive information (Menon, Block & Ramanathan, 2002; Lai, 2003; Ingrand, Verneau, Silvain & Beauchant, 2004). This study investigated the cognitive and affective components of adolescents hepatitis C attitudes. Hepatitis C knowledge was also assessed. A sample of 98 adolescents (aged 14-17) participated and completed a questionnaire using free response methodology. Results showed that cognition significantly predicted attitudes toward hepatitis C although affect also played a role. Hepatitis C knowledge was minimal as per previous literature. The findings suggest that hepatitis C education and prevention efforts need to focus on beliefs, and also emotions as a way to influence attitude and increase the effectiveness of hepatitis C campaigns.
Supervisor: Associate Professor Julie Ann Pooley