Psychosocial adjustment and AIDS-related symptoms among HIV seropositive gay males

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)



First Committee Member

Charles S. Carver, Committee Chair


Sixty-one asymptomatic HIV-seropositive gay males participating in a longitudinal natural history study on HIV-infection were compared at intake with forty-nine seronegative controls on measures of emotional distress,loneliness, perceptions of social support, optimism, and dispositional coping. Twenty-four of the HIV-positive participants developed AIDS-related symptoms within six to thirty months from intake (progressors) and were compared with thirty-seven HIV-positive participants who did not develop symptoms (non-progressors) on the same outcome measures at intake, before any symptoms had developed. Progressors and non-progressors were also compared at three other time points: six months before symptoms developed and twice (at six month intervals) after symptoms had developed.Results from the cross-sectional analyses at intake indicated no significant differences between the psychosocial adjustment of HIV-positive and HIV-negative participants. At intake, eventual progressors evidenced more emotional distress and loneliness than eventual non-progressors. Results from the longitudinal analyses indicated that distress remained constant over time in the progressors, despite the development of AIDS-related symptoms. Distress increased in the non-progressors over time. None of the other psychosocial outcome variables of interest changed significantly or differentiated progressors and non-progressors over time. Implications of these findings are discussed regarding measurement and severity of symptoms and the advantages of a multivariate model in the investigation of adaptation to the progression of HIV infection.


Psychology, Social

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