Using the theory of planned behavior to explore attitudes and beliefs about dietary supplements among HIV-positive Black women

Complement Ther Med. 2014 Apr;22(2):400-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ctim.2014.03.002. Epub 2014 Mar 12.


Background: This cross-sectional study investigated whether the theory of planned behavior (TPB) constructs: attitudes, subjective norms, and perceived behavioral control were related to intention of dietary supplements use among African-American women living with Human Immunodeficiency Virus and/or Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (HIV/AIDS).

Methods: A closed-ended questionnaire based on the TPB was utilized to explore the use of dietary supplements among a cohort of 153 HIV-positive African-American women.

Results: Overall, 45% of the respondents used dietary supplements to manage/control their HIV. Combined, attitudes, subjective norms and perceived behavioral control were significant predictors of intention toward dietary supplement use (69% of the variance explained, p<0.0001). Attitudes (β=0.23, p<0.001) and perceived behavioral control (β=0.45, p<0.0001) were found to be significant independent predictors of intention. Behavioral intention and proximal TPB constructs (attitudes, subjective norms, and perceived behavioral control), as well as their underlying beliefs about dietary supplements use, were all found to be significantly more positive in users of dietary supplements compared to non-users (p<0.001).

Conclusions: Results showed that attitudes, subjective norms and perceived behavioral control are important predictors in the intention to use dietary supplements for control of HIV among African-American women. Implications from this study suggest that the TPB can be used to better identify and understand salient beliefs that surround intentions to use alternative therapies for management of disease. These beliefs can be used to develop interventions surrounding HIV treatment and care.

Keywords: African Americans; Alternative therapies; Antiretroviral treatments; Dietary supplements; HIV/AIDS; Theory of planned behavior.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • African Americans / statistics & numerical data*
  • Aged
  • Complementary Therapies
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Female
  • HIV Seropositivity* / epidemiology
  • HIV Seropositivity* / psychology
  • HIV Seropositivity* / therapy
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Linear Models
  • Middle Aged
  • Surveys and Questionnaires