Date of Award

Winter 2013

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



Committee Director

Louis H. Janda

Committee Member

James Paulson

Committee Member

Valerian J. Derlega


Laws related to HIV require individuals infected with HIV to disclose their HIV-positive status before engaging in sexual behavior. These laws vary as to whether to include the intent of HIV non-disclosure as a criterion for prosecution. Penalty assignment for HIV non-disclosure is consistent with moral judgment. Literature regarding moral judgment has been inconsistent as to whether individuals process information regarding intent and consequences independently or interdependently when recommending penalties. The present study seeks to explore the effects of intent and consequences on recommended penalties in HIV non-disclosure situations. A 3(intent) × 2(consequence) ANOVA design was conducted with recommended penalties for time in prison and fines as the dependent variables. The effects of intent and consequences on the assignment of responsibility were also examined as a research question, using a 3(intent) × 2(consequence) ANOVA design, with assigned responsibility and blameworthiness as the dependent variables. The results demonstrated that intent and consequences played independent roles in affecting recommended penalties related to HIV non-disclosure situations. No significant differences were found for responsibility attribution among the conditions. The results were consistent with the findings of studies in which information regarding intent and consequences was independently processed in making judgments. It also broadened the literature in HIV non-disclosure related studies.