Project: Research project

Project Details


DESCRIPTION (Applicant's Abstract): In order to determine psychological
factors that may be protective of health and/or related to survival in AIDS,
this study proposes to compare three groups on psychological measures: 1)
long-term survivors of AIDS; 2) the rare HIV positive people who have low
CD4 counts (less than or equal to 50) and have always been clinically
asymptomatic (asymptomatic low CD4 group; no CDC 1993 category B or C
symptoms); and 3) an early "numerical" AIDS group (HIV positive people with
CD4 counts between 150-200 at entry to the study who are clinically
asymptomatic and have not ever had category C symptoms). Study I compares
the groups cross-sectionally in order to discern any psychological
differences that the long term survivor group and asymptomatic low CD4 group
have, especially as compared with the early numerical AIDS group.

Study II follows the early numerical AIDS group longitudinally to determine
whether: 1) these psychological characteristics developed as a result of
continued survival or asymptomatic status (i.e., the chicken-egg problem);
2) the psychological characteristics predict the development of symptoms
and/or death (most of this group are expected to become ill and many to die
within 3 years); and 3) the psychological changes precede or are a result of
health status changes (related to number 1, also the chicken-egg question).

The major psychological variables to be assessed through interview and
questionnaire include: coping style, life involvement, communication skills
(emotional expression, assertiveness), social support, beliefs
(self-efficacy, optimism, fatalism), distress, and approach to health care
(doctor-patient relationship, taking responsibility for health, keeping up
with medical information, etc.). A model is proposed and will be tested by
which the impact of AIDS and stressors may be modulated by resources and
individual capacities ("trait" characteristics such as assertiveness,
optimism, emotional expression) and behaviors (such as coping, keeping up
with medical information) to affect health care, social isolation,
depression, and sense of purpose in life and, thus, have an impact on
morbidity and longevity.

The study will be conducted at two sites, The University of Miami and the
University of California at Los Angeles, to ensure an adequate number of the
unusual people who comprise Groups 1 and 2.
Effective start/end date9/30/964/30/02


  • National Institute of Mental Health: $310,098.00
  • National Institute of Mental Health
  • National Institute of Mental Health
  • National Institute of Mental Health
  • National Institute of Mental Health


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