Institute of Behavioral Science
University of Colorado
Dennis S. Mileti presented a keynote paper, "Designing Future Disasters," to the 6th Aon Reinsurance Hazards Conference, "The Changing Risk Landscape's Implications for Insurance Risk Management" in Gold Coast, Australia on August 12. This paper addresses the potential for increased dollar loss disasters in the United States and reviews the potential links between insurance and the mitigation of vulnerability.
Mileti also presented three keynote speeches recently. On August 25, in Melborne, Australia, he presented, "Integrating Hazards Management and Sustainable Development," to the Australian Emergency Management Agency's Annual State Workshop on Emergency Management. His speech linked natural hazard mitigation and preparedness to principles of sustainable community development. On September 8, in Salt Lake City, he presented "Sustainable Mitigation Approaches for Emergency Management," at the Governor's Annual Conference on Disaster and Emergency Preparedness, "Emergency Management: The Challenge of the New Century." This speech outlined the key findings and policy recommendation of the second national assessment of research and applications on natural hazards and linked those findings to possible practical actions in the state of Utah. On September 19, he presented "Disasters by Design," at the Asia-Pacific Disaster Conference '99, "Advances in Technology: Linking Technology with Operational Requirements." The conference, sponsored by the Center of Excellence in Disaster Management and Humanization Assistance, U.S. Department of Defense, was held in Kauai, Hawaii on September 19. His speech summarized the major action recommendations from the recently completed assessment of natural hazards project.
Mileti participated in the Annual Advisory Board Meeting of the Southern California Earthquake Center (SCEC). SCEC is a consortium of multiple universities, from across the U.S., who have joined together under the umbrella of a National Science Foundation Center for Excellence to explore the potential for future earthquakes in southern California. One goal of SCEC is to distribute information to the people in society who might benefit from their findings. Mileti's role on the Advisory Board is to provide guidance on SCEC's education and outreach program. The meeting was held in Palm Springs, California on September 27-29.
Delbert S. Elliott presented best violence prevention practices, including "Blueprints for Violence Prevention Programs That Work" at a luncheon for the Citizens Crime Commission, held in Portland, Oregon on September 1 and at the Arizona Prevention Resource Center Policy Board Meeting, in Phoenix, Arizona on September 8. On September 15 the Boulder Press Club invited Elliott to be a keynote speaker at their meeting at the Broker Inn. Elliott spoke about the causes and measures of prevention, and specifically on the Blueprints for Violence Prevention. Elliott was invited to be a presenter at the Life History Research Society meeting September 23-25 in Kauai, Hawaii. The theme was "Multiple Pathways through the Life Span: Implication for Research and Practice," sponsored by the Families and Communities Research Group at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Sharon Mihalic presented "Blueprints for Violence Prevention Programs That Work" on September 10, at the workshop "Y2K Kids: Youth in the Next Millennium." The workshop was sponsored by the Pikes Peak Region of the National Association of Social Workers, Colorado Chapter.
Landa Heys and Tiffany Shaw attended an organization and planning meeting for a group to address the prevention of violence against women in Boulder County. The multi-disciplinary Boulder action group is made up of violence prevention practitioners who will work to address the varying issues surrounding violence against women. The meeting was held at the Boulder Safehouse Outreach Center on September 9.
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My basic social psychological interests in attraction, romantic partnership, and sexual behavior, combined with a fascination about why individuals knowingly engage in health-compromising behaviors, led me to the study of risky sexual behavior. Currently, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) including HIV/AIDS continue to exist in epidemic proportions. Young people are particularly at risk, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that over 3 million young people contract an STD annually, and over 60% of all infections occur in young people under the age of 25. Despite high levels of knowledge about STD/HIV risk and prevention in virtually all segments of the population, individuals continue to engage in risky sexual behavior; that is, penetrative anal or vaginal intercourse without the use of a condom.
My overall program of research focuses on the use of established theories of health behavior as sources for common psychosocial determinants of condom use across populations. Within a given risk group, I then tailor these general models through the inclusion of population-specific precursors of general model constructs. From these tailored models, population-specific interventions are then designed, targeting the determinants of condom use behavior found to be important for that population. For example, my masters degree work focused on the design, implementation, and evaluation of a condom promotion intervention with college women. The model of condom use and the intervention based on that model included specific issues relevant to the female experience of condom use such as perceived control over the sexual encounter (e.g., being able to tell a partner no) and acceptance of sexuality (e.g., lack of guilt about being sexually active). A model for college males, in contrast, included constructs important to the male experience of condom use, such as sexual self-control (e.g., being able to halt sexual activity "in the heat of the moment" to apply a condom) and male-specific condom attitudes (e.g., that condoms cause a loss of erection).
Though I have conducted prevention research with intravenous drug users, men who have sex with men, and individuals who are HIV+, my current work focuses on incarcerated adolescents as a particularly high risk subset of young people. In comparison to the general adolescent population, incarcerated adolescents are younger at first intercourse, have higher rates of anal intercourse, a greater number of sex partners, and lower rates of condom use. Engaging in these risky sexual behaviors results in high rates of unintended pregnancy and STDs. My model development research with incarcerated adolescents suggests that self-esteem and future orientation may each play a role in the determination of their condom use behavior. My immediate goals are to establish working relationships with the juvenile justice system in Colorado. I hope to obtain grant support to conduct a longitudinal study of condom use and other risk behaviors among incarcerated adolescents by following them up after their release from incarceration facilities. Based on this work, I further hope to develop a theoretically based pre-release STD/HIV prevention intervention to be evaluated in a randomized controlled trial among incarcerated adolescents. Behavioral outcomes comparing intervention to control participants will then be obtained post-release.
My work on the psychosocial mechanisms involved in condom use behavior in various populations has led to a recent invitation to a Health Cognitions Conference sponsored by the National Science Foundation and National Cancer Institutes to be held in Capitva, Florida on November 19-21, 1999.
Dennis S. Mileti
A clearinghouse on natural hazards research and applications
NSF, 09/01/99 - 09/30/00, cont, $542,850
There is an online listing of upcoming and recent colloquia.