Religiosity in a symptomatic HIV-1 seropositive population enrolled in a cognitive behavioral stress management program: Effects on affective, health, and immune status

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)



First Committee Member

Michael H. Antoni - Committee Chair


This project consisted of two studies. The first attempted to replicate earlier findings linking religion to physical and mental health in HIV+ gay men in a sample of HIV+ African-American women. Consistent with earlier work, the women examined here displayed two aspects of religion: behavior and coping. Also consistent, religious coping and active coping were significantly associated with decreased depression and anxiety. In contrast to earlier work with gay men, religious coping was associated with fewer physical symptoms.The second study examined religiosity's affect on affective, health, and immune status in 109 HIV+ symptomatic gay men participating in a 10 week CBSM intervention. Two aspects of religiosity were displayed: behavior and coping. CBSM intervention decreased depression, anger, anxiety, confusion, and total mood disturbance. Religious behavior was significantly associated with HIV related symptoms. Immunologically, religious coping was associated with significant decreases in HSV2 antibody titers and religious behavior significantly predicted changes in both CD4 count and percentages. Religious behavior approached significance in its ability to predict changes in cognitive distortions, with higher levels of religious behavior associated with greater decreases in dysfunctional thought. Religion failed to predict compliance with relaxation homework.


Religion, General; Psychology, Behavioral; Psychology, Clinical; Psychology, Cognitive; Health Sciences, Immunology

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