Publication Date



Open access

Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Educational and Psychological Studies (Education)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Soyeon Ahn

Second Committee Member

Cengiz Zopluoglu

Third Committee Member

Debbiesiu Lee


The current study examined the perceived social support of people who are HIV positive. The study compared whether perceived social support differed by the source of social support (i.e., family [mother, father, sibling], friend, and significant others). A total 46 effect sizes extracted from nine primary studies (i.e., 8 published manuscripts and 1 unpublished dissertation) were used in the current meta-analysis. The primary effect size was the odds ratio (OR), which quantified the difference in the odds of perceived social support level between two sources of social support. Studies reporting sufficient information computing Cohen’s d or Correlation Coefficient were converted to OR. The current meta-analysis first estimates the overall OR comparing the level of perceived social support between different sources of social support (i.e., family, friend, significant others) for people who are HIV-positive. Further analyses examining the differential effect of moderators on the overall ORs were also conducted. Moderators used in the current meta-analysis were gender, ethnicity, type of social support, and publication type. Results indicated that there are some significant differences as to whom people who are HIV-positive are more likely report receiving social support. Specifically, higher levels of overall perceived social support were found from friends in comparison to mothers and fathers separately. Gender, ethnicity, and type of support were found to be significant moderators, especially for male participants and Hispanic participants and White participants. In particular, friends provide more perceived, emotional and HIV-specific social support compared to parents for these subgroups. These findings are helpful for medical professionals and psychologists to help tailor treatments to include these source of social support accordingly. Limitations and suggestions for future research are also included in the discussion section.


HIV; Social Support; Disclosure; Ethnicity; Meta-analysis; Minorities