Cognitive, affective, behavioral, and immune correlates of emotional expression in symptomatic HIV-infected gay men

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

First Committee Member

Michael H. Antoni - Committee Chair


This study examined personality style, as measured by the Millon Behavioral Health Inventory (MBHI), and emotional disclosure responses to a written essay about a stressful event related to being HIV-1 seropositive in 67 symptomatic HIV-1 seropositive gay men. Differences in personality style and emotional expression were related to measures of mood, cognitive processing, risk behavior, and immune parameters. Additionally, individual differences in emotional expression were examined as predictors of the effects of a cognitive-behavioral stress management (CBSM) intervention in this group of symptomatic HIV-1 seropositive gay men. Essays were scored for degree of emotional disclosure, self-esteem, cognitive change, and problem solving skills. Degree of disclosure was related to greater levels of depression and cognitive intrusions, while the degree of problem solving was related to feelings of self-efficacy. Personality style (characterized by low frustration tolerance and hasty expression of negative feelings) was also associated with greater depressive symptoms, greater use of denial as a coping mechanism, and lower reports feelings of self-efficacy. In contrast, neither individual difference measure was consistently associated with risk behaviors such as substance use and unsafe sexual practices. Furthermore, no significant associations were observed between these measures of emotional expression and antibody titers to herpesviruses (index of cellular control over latent viruses) nor to neopterin levels (index of HIV-1 disease progression). Finally, personality style and written emotional disclosure responses did not contribute a significant amount of variance in changes in depression produced by the CBSM intervention.


Psychology, Clinical; Psychology, Personality

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