Date of Award


Publication Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name



Social Work


Women's Studies.


Maticka-Tyndale, Eleanor,




The purpose of this study was to explore, within the context of Thai culture, how married Northeastern Thai women form their perception of personal risk and their intentions and strategies of self-protection with respect to sexual transmission of HIV. A modified version of the health belief model was used with a particular emphasis placed on cultural context. Structured face-to-face interviews and focus groups with married women from six Northeastern Thai villages were used. Overall, Thai women's perceptions of risk demonstrated the existence of an optimistic bias and were developed and maintained through the use of various judgmental heuristics. The majority of women outlined elaborate strategies regarding their intentions to protect themselves from HIV infection. Despite strong intentions, women's actions were not effective for protection. The major factor stopping intentions from becoming actions were the barriers to effective protection that exist for these women. Social psychological theories rooted in a rational risk analysis framework helped to identify the personal strategies associated with risk for Thai women, but cultural understanding was necessary when addressing how each model component played out in the lives of these women. Concepts such as judgmental heuristics, optimistic bias, and intentions were embedded in a cultural framework where Thai beliefs in Karma, making merit, Siang Duang, maintaining a cool-heart, and mai pen rai, set the foundation on which the social psychological concepts were built. Culture sets the underlying themes on which sexuality is based, therefore, knowledge of HIV and its sexual transmission, the understanding that condoms can prevent transmission, and knowing their husbands are their main source of risk are not enough to prevent HIV infection. Culture needs to not only be a factor that is considered but to provide the foundation for which prevention efforts are based.Dept. of Sociology and Anthropology. Paper copy at Leddy Library: Theses & Major Papers - Basement, West Bldg. / Call Number: Thesis1997 .M475. Source: Masters Abstracts International, Volume: 37-01, page: 0150. Adviser: Eleanor Maticka-Tyndale. Thesis (M.A.)--University of Windsor (Canada), 1997.