Health Risk Behavior among College Students: A Mixed Method Approach
The global prevalence of HIV appears to have been stabilized in this decade, but risk of infection already spread and unknown aerostats of different demographics still looms large. There is difference in the pattern of risk behavior leading to transmission of diverse type of sexually transmitted infection in different population
groups. Youth and young adults aged 15-24 years account for 45 percent of new infection worldwide and continuing spread of new HIV infections in this age group is still a cause for major concern for everyone. Early research in this regard focused on major routes of transmission of virus to evolve preventive strategies. Keeping in
view the continuing higher rates of HIV infection in this younger age group, present study intends to identify psychological factors and health risk behavior among college going youth and young adults.The psychological variables of life stress, anxiety and satisfaction with life and self-efficacy were assessed using standardized
instruments and input on health risk behavior was obtainedthrough Focus Group Discussions (FGD). One hundred boys and girls college students (50 females and 50 males in each group,age range 19-22 years) were randomly selected using probability proportion to size (PPS) method. The result revealed that females
report experiencing higher negative impact of life changes thantheir male counterparts in general (t=2.79, df =98, p<.01). Themale students report significantly higher (t=2.67, df =98, p<.05)self-efficacy, in effect reflecting stronger belief in their potential todeal with life’s demanding situation. Six focus group discussions
(FGD) (three each with females and males) were conducted. The FGDs results revealed gender specific stresses. While femalesreported more familial stress and stress associated with preferential treatment to boys in the family, boys reported more stress related to interpersonal relationship linked to love relationships. Although, both the groups reported negative emotions to be an antecedent for health risk, girls however, tended to express more stable emotions than the boys. Peer pressure was reported as a major issue by both genders, boys however reported to have stronger sense of self belief and reported being more confident in handling demanding situations.