Compassionate love predicts long-term survival among people living with HIV followed for up to 17 years

Gail Ironson, Heidemarie Kremer, Aurelie Lucette

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Scopus citations


A budding literature has shown the benefits of compassionate love on psychological well-being. Yet, much less is known on its relevance for health outcomes. The purpose of the present study is to examine the effects of compassionate love on survival among people living with HIV (PLWH). 177 PLWH at the mid-stage of illness participated in a longitudinal study of stress and coping. They completed questionnaires, interviews, and essays every 6 months. Three components (giving and receiving compassionate love, and compassionate love toward self) were rated using interview and essay transcripts. Giving compassionate love and compassionate love toward self predicted longer survival, even when controlling for substance use and social support. Only giving compassionate love remained a significant predictor when controlling for adherence. Being compassionate toward others as well as oneself may have survival benefits. Giving compassionate love appears to be more important than receiving.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Positive Psychology
StateAccepted/In press - Jul 29 2017


  • altruism
  • compassion
  • Compassionate love
  • HIV
  • self-love
  • survival

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

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