Objective: To research the correlation between physical and sexual abuse by family members and AIDS-related knowledge, attitudes, self-efficacy and behavior among urban and rural adolescents in Zambia. Sample: The sample comprises 3,360 adolescents, aged 10-19, from urban and rural Zambia; 2,160 of them attended school, while 1,200 of them did not. Measures: Standardized scales were utilized to assess AIDS-related knowledge, attitudes, and self-efficacy. In addition, the adolescents reported the extent of their engagement in various high-risk behaviors and their lifetime experience of being sexually or physically abused. Results: As the level of abuse experienced by the adolescents increased, their level of knowledge about HIV/AIDS, tendency to hold positive attitudes toward prevention, and level of self-efficacy regarding HIV/AIDS prevention decreased. Most importantly, when controlling for socio-demographic variables, findings indicate that past abuse was a key factor predicting participation in high-risk behaviors associated with HIV infection. Conclusion: Physical and sexual abuse of adolescents in Zambia is significantly related to HIV risk behaviors. Future studies should investigate which factors mediate between the experience of abuse and the tendency to engage in risky behaviors.
- Child abuse
- Sub-Saharan Africa