HIV/AIDS, Health Risk Behavior, and Stress and Trauma

Gore-Felton, C., C. Koopman, et al. (2006). "Effects of quality of life and coping on depression among adults living with HIV/AIDS." J Health Psychol 11(5): 711-29.
This prospective study examined the effect of maladaptive coping strategies and psychological quality of life (QOL) on depression at two time points in a diverse sample of persons living with HIV/AIDS (N = 85). The use of maladaptive coping strategies to deal with the stress of living with HIV/AIDS, particularly engaging in various kinds of avoidant behaviors, was significantly associated with greater depression at baseline and increased depression at three months. QOL was the single most important predictor of depression. In an effort to develop effective clinical methods aimed at decreasing depression among adults living with HIV, future studies need to focus on improving quality of life and increasing adaptive coping strategies associated with the stress of living with HIV/AIDS.

Gore-Felton, C., M. J. Rotheram-Borus, et al. (2005). "The Healthy Living Project: an individually tailored, multidimensional intervention for HIV-infected persons." AIDS Educ Prev 17(1 Suppl A): 21-39.
The NIMH Healthy Living Project (HLP), a randomized behavioral intervention trial for people living with HIV, enrolled 943 individuals, including women, heterosexual men, injection drug users, and men who have sex with men from Los Angeles, Milwaukee, New York, and San Francisco. The intervention, which is based on qualitative formative research and Ewart's Social Action Theory, addresses three interrelated aspects of living with HIV: stress and coping, transmission risk behavior, and medication adherence. Fifteen 90-minute structured sessions, divided into 3 modules of five sessions each, are delivered to individuals. Sessions are tailored to individuals within a structure that uses role-plays, problem solving, and goal setting techniques. A 'Life Project'--or overarching goal related to personal striving-provides continuity throughout sessions. Because this is an ongoing project with efficacy yet to be established, we do not report intervention outcomes. However, the intervention was designed to be useful for prevention case management, settings where repeated one-on-one contact is possible, and where a structured but highly individualized intervention approach is desired.

Kalichman, S. C., C. Gore-Felton, et al. (2004). "Trauma symptoms, sexual behaviors, and substance abuse: correlates of childhood sexual abuse and HIV risks among men who have sex with men." J Child Sex Abus 13(1): 1-15.
Childhood sexual abuse is associated with high-risk sexual behavior in men who have sex with men. This study examined psychological and behavioral correlates of HIV risk behavior associated with childhood sexual abuse in a sample of men who have sex with men. Men attending a large gay pride event (N = 647) completed anonymous surveys that assessed demographic characteristics, childhood sexual abuse history, symptoms of dissociation and trauma-related anxiety, borderline personality characteristics, substance use, and sexual risk behavior. Results indicated that men who have a history of childhood sexual abuse were more likely to: engage in high-risk sexual behavior (i.e., unprotected receptive anal intercourse), trade sex for money or drugs, report being HIV positive, and experience non-sexual relationship violence. Results of this study extend previous research to show that men who have sex with men and who have a history of child sexual abuse are more likely to be at high risk for HIV infection.

Power, R., C. Koopman, et al. (2003). "Social support, substance use, and denial in relationship to antiretroviral treatment adherence among HIV-infected persons." AIDS Patient Care STDS 17(5): 245-52.
This study examined the relationship of adherence to antiretroviral treatment with three types of social support (partner, friends, and family) and use of two coping strategies (denial and substance use). Participants were 73 men and women with HIV infection drawn from a larger sample of 186 clinical trial patients. Based on inclusion criteria, parent trial participants taking antiretroviral therapies, and those with complete data on self-reported measures of adherence were considered eligible for the present study. Overall, 26% of participants were found to be nonadherent, which was defined as one or more missed doses of treatment in the prior 4-day period. Logistic regression analysis was conducted to determine associations of sociodemographic and psychosocial variables with adherence to antiretroviral regimen. Results indicated that heterosexual participants (p < 0.01) and participants of Latino ethnicity (p < 0.05) were significantly more likely to report missed medications. Perceived satisfaction with support from a partner was associated with taking antiretroviral therapy as prescribed, whereas satisfaction with support from friends and from family was not significantly related to adherence. Examination of coping strategies showed that participants reporting drug and alcohol use (p <.05) to cope with HIV-related stress were more likely to be nonadherent. These findings call for adherence interventions designed to address barriers and strengths, such as community norms or traditional cultural values, specific to certain populations. Furthermore, couple-based approaches enlisting partner support may help persons living with HIV to adhere to antiretroviral regimens.

Gore-Felton, C., L. D. Butler, et al. (2001). "HIV disease, violence, and post-traumatic stress." Focus 16(6): 5-6.

Koopman, C., C. Gore-Felton, et al. (2000). "Relationships of perceived stress to coping, attachment and social support among HIV-positive persons." AIDS Care 12(5): 663-72.
The purpose of this study was to examine the relationships of coping, attachment style and perceived social support to perceived stress within a sample of HIV-positive persons. Participants were 147 HIV-positive persons (80 men and 67 women). Multiple regression analysis was used to examine the relationships of the demographic variables, AIDS status, three coping styles, three attachment styles and perceived quality of general social support with total score on the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS). PSS score was significantly associated with less income, greater use of behavioural and emotional disengagement in coping with HIV/AIDS, and less secure and more anxious attachment styles. These results indicate that HIV-positive persons who experience the greatest stress in their daily lives are those with lower incomes, those who disengage behaviourally/emotionally in coping with their illness, and those who approach their interpersonal relationships in a less secure or more anxious style.

Rotheram-Borus, M. J., M. Rosario, et al. (1995). "Predicting patterns of sexual acts among homosexual and bisexual youths." Am J Psychiatry 152(4): 588-95.
OBJECTIVE: This longitudinal study examined predictors of patterns of change in HIV sexual risk acts among homosexual and bisexual adolescent males. METHOD: A consecutive series of 136 homosexual and bisexual males aged 14-19 years were recruited into the study. Subjects were predominantly Hispanic (51%) and African American (31%) and seeking services at a homosexual-identified community-based agency in New York City. All subjects participated in an intensive HIV intervention program. Patterns of change in HIV sexual risk acts were based on assessments at four points (intake and 3, 6, and 12 months later) and were used to classify youths as demonstrating one of five patterns of anal and oral sexual acts: protected (anal: 45%, oral: 25%), improved (32% and 28%, respectively), relapse (5% and 8%), variable (8% and 15%), and unprotected (10% and 24%). Components of the health belief, self-efficacy, peer influence, coping, and distress models were assessed as predictors of these patterns. RESULTS: Protected and improved patterns of sexual risk acts were associated with low levels of anxiety, depression, and substance use and high self-esteem. CONCLUSIONS: These data suggest that HIV interventions must address non-HIV-related issues confronting youths in difficult life circumstances, particularly emotional distress and the role of peer networks for homosexual and bisexual youths.

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