oa Journal of Psychology in Africa - Non-linear regression modelling of traditional and biomedical approaches to HIV/AIDS prevention in Malawi



A recent study of the credibility of sources of information about AIDS prevention in Malawi, identified three orthogonal factors: Modernity, Traditionalism and Biomedicine. The purpose of the present study was to investigate the inter-relationship between these factors using innovative nonlinear regression techniques. The sample comprised 175 undergraduate Malawian university students. At low levels of endorsement of Tradition (the splitting factor) there was a significant linear relationship between endorsements of Modernity (IV) and Biomedicine (DV). However, this relationship became progressively weaker as endorsement of Traditionalism increased, until at the highest level of Traditionalism there was no linear relationship between endorsements of Modernity and Biomedicine. These results indicate that the degree of Traditionalism moderates the normally linear relationship between endorsements of Modernity and Biomedicine, at least in the case of some AIDS prevention initiatives. We discuss the implications that the complex, non-linear, interaction of these variables has for the planning, provision and uptake of biomedical and traditional healing systems, regarding AIDS prevention in developing countries.


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