Factors predicting nurses' HIV risk perception and their adherence to universal precautions.
The alms of the current study were, firstly, to examme factors predicting nurses'
perception of risk of HIV contagion at work; and secondly to investigate nurses'
compliance with universal precautions, and the reasons for their compliance and noncompliance.
The research was carried out in three phases. Phase I of the research used the Yates and
Stone (1992) model of risk as a theoretical framework with which to examine perceived
risk and also investigated reasons for non-compliance. The results suggested that
perceived risk was related to fear of contagion and knowledge of non-transmission
modes. Additionally four factors were produced from the investigation of reasons for
non-compliance. Phase 2 utilised a qualitative analysis of semi-structured interviews
designed to yield salient beliefs and issues relating to: risk perception and fear of
contagion; knowledge of HIV; precautionary compliance; and the use of social
comparisons when evaluating risk. The third phase of the research project was designed
to combine the results of the first two phases of research with established theory in order
to investigate the two main aims of the study. The Yates and Stone model of risk was
again used. The Theory of Planned Behaviour (Ajzen, 1986) was used as a framework
with which to examine compliance with universal precautions, and the False Consensus
Effect (Ross, House and Green, 1977) was also used to examine behaviours and beliefs
relating to both risk perception and precaution use. As with phase 1 this phase was
The relationships between descriptor and outcome variables were examined through the
use of univariate, bivariate and multivariate statistical techniques. Overall it was found
that fear of contagion, knowledge of HIV, previous exposure to HIV, and perceived
behavioural control were all significant predictors of perceived risk of HIV contagion,
results which support the Yates and Stone conceptualisation of risk. Four factors relating
to precaution non-use were found and the Theory of Planned Behaviour was found to
predict and explain precaution non-use accurately for 71 % of participants. Relationships
amongst the variables were investigated in detail and the results were discussed in tenns
of both theoretical and practical outcomes.