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The effects of mood states on the AIDS-related judgements of gay men
journal contributionposted on 2002-07-01, 00:00 authored by Ron Gold
In two studies, the effects of induced mood on the AIDS-related judgements of gay men were investigated. Participants were induced into a positive, neutral, or negative mood by recall of affect-laden autobiographical memories; they then made AIDS-related judgements. In Study 1 (n=30), the men indicated their level of agreement with statements expressing optimism about the efficacy of antiretroviral treatments for HIV/AIDS. Those induced into a positive mood indicated stronger agreement than did those induced into a neutral or negative mood. In Study 2 (n=83), participants read brief descriptions of men they did not know and estimated the likelihood that they were HIV-infected. Each sketch highlighted one characteristic of the man described. There were two versions of each sketch (e.g., the versions of the sketch highlighting intelligence described the man either as very intelligent or as very unintelligent), given to different participants. Stereotype use was inferred if significantly different estimates were given for the two versions of a sketch. Reliance on stereotypes was found most often in the positive mood condition and least often in the negative mood condition. The findings are consistent with, and suggest explanations for, earlier correlational evidence that, in gay men of the age group studied, sexual risk-taking is associated with a positive mood. Suggestions are made for how AIDS educators might address the contributions of mood states to sexual risk-taking.