Changes in cognitive coping skills and social support during cognitive behavioral stress management intervention and distress outcomes in symptomatic human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-seropositive gay men

Susan K. Lutgendorf, Michael H. Antoni, Gail Ironson, Kathleen Starr, Nancy Costello, Marc Zuckerman, Nancy Klimas, Mary Ann Fletcher, Neil Schneiderman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

141 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: We have previously reported decreases in dysphoria, anxiety, and total mood disturbance in symptomatic HIV seropositive gay men after a 10-week cognitive behavioral stress management (CBSM) group intervention. This structured intervention was designed a) to increase cognitive and behavioral coping skills related to managing the distress of symptomatic HIV, and b) to increase social support among group members. Here we examine the relative contribution of changes in coping skills and social support during the intervention period to reductions in dysphoria, anxiety, and distress- related symptoms in this sample. Methods: Participants were randomized to a 10-week CBSM group intervention or to a wait-list control condition. Coping, social supports, and mood were measured before and after the intervention period. Results: Members of the CBSM group (N = 22) showed significant improvement in cognitive coping strategies involving positive reframing and acceptance, and in social supports involving attachment, alliances, and guidance at the end of the 10-week CBSM program compared with controls (N = 18) who showed decrements in these coping abilities and no changes in social support. Improved cognitive coping, specifically acceptance of the HIV infection, was strongly related to lower dysphoria, anxiety, and total mood disturbance in both conditions. Changes in social support and in cognitive coping skills seem to mediate the effects of the experimental condition on the changes in distress noted during the intervention. Conclusions: These results suggest that cognitive coping and social support factors can be modified by psychosocial interventions and may be important determinants of the changes in psychological well-being and quality of life during symptomatic HIV infection that can be achieved through this form of intervention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)204-214
Number of pages11
JournalPsychosomatic medicine
Volume60
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1998

Keywords

  • Coping
  • HIV
  • Intervention
  • Quality of life
  • Social support

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Psychology(all)

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