Symbolic and Instrumental Values as Predictors of AIDS Policy Attitudes

Document Type



This article presents a study which is conducted to offer an assessment of the relative importance of public health and homophobic attitudes in explaining public opinion about the Acquired Immuno Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). The findings reported in this study suggest that symbolic and instrumental values both play important roles in accounting for public attitudes toward people with AIDS and policies designed to deal with the AIDS problem. The relative explanatory power of these two sets of variables seems to depend on the precise manner in which the issue is framed. The main finding of this study is very general: public attitudes about AIDS are apparently rather differentiated, and are related to a number of other values and opinions. While attitude towards AIDS is usually related to cultural conservatism in general, and to attitude about homosexuality in particular, there are important senses in which AIDS attitude is related to general attitudes about public health or the appropriate role of government as helper of disadvantaged citizens.


Gender and Sexuality | Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Studies | Political Science


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