Psychological distress in HIV-1 disease in relationship to hypocholesterolemia

Gail Shor-Posner, Teri Baldewicz, Dan Feaster, Nancy T. Blaney, Maria Miguez-Burbano, Jose Szapocznik, Karl Goodkin, Carl Eisdorfer, Marianna K. Baum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Objective: Altered levels of serum cholesterol, which are prevalent in early HIV-1 infection, have been associated with disturbances in mood state and behavior. The objective of this study was to evaluate the relationship of serum cholesterol status and psychological distress in HIV-1 seropositive and seronegative men. Method: The association between serum cholesterol level and psychological distress, measured with the Profile of Mood States (POMS), was examined in 169 individuals (117 HIV-1 seropositive and 52 seronegative homosexual men), controlling for negative life events, social support, coping style, and HIV-1 serostatus. Results: Individuals with hypocholesterolemia (serum cholesterol levels < 150 mg/dL), exhibited significantly higher levels of distress, relative to individuals with values of cholesterol > 150 mg/dL (p = 0.01). HIV-1 seropositive men had significantly lower cholesterol levels (p = 0.0001) and higher levels of distress than the seronegative men (p = 0.03). A significant interaction between negative life events and cholesterol status was demonstrated as well (p = 0.04). Conclusions: Hypocholesterolemia appears to be associated with increased psychological distress. Whereas the causal direction of the cholesterol-distress association cannot be specified, our results suggest that HIV-1 infected men with low cholesterol levels may benefit from being monitored for changes in distress level, so that appropriate psychosocial intervention can be instituted, as necessary.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)159-171
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Psychiatry in Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 1997


  • HIV
  • Hypocholesterolemia
  • Psychological distress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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