Functional analysis of HIV/AIDS stigma: Consensus or divergence?
Functional theory proposes that attitudes may serve a variety of purposes for individuals. This study aimed to determine whether stigmatized attitudes toward HIV/AIDS serve the same function for all (consensus function) or serve different functions for different individuals (divergence function) by assessing various aspects of HIV/AIDS stigma using a sample of 236 adults aged 20 to 65 years from the Iranian community living in Sydney, Australia in 2007. Respondents were classified as evaluatives or expressives based on their responses to attitude function inventory scale. HIV/AIDS-related attitudes in the study group were found to have more of an expressive (58.5%) than an evaluative function (32.2%). Multiple regression analyses revealed that various aspects of HIV/AIDS stigma were functionally divergent within the study group and could serve evaluative and expressive function. The study's findings suggest that different messages should be presented to different audiences depending on whether the stigma performs an expressive or evaluative function.