Resilience and HIV: a review of the definition and study of resilience

Akilah J. Dulin, Sannisha K. Dale, Valerie A. Earnshaw, Joseph L. Fava, Michael J. Mugavero, Sonia Napravnik, Joseph W. Hogan, Michael P. Carey, Chanelle J. Howe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


We use a socioecological model of health to define resilience, review the definition and study of resilience among persons living with human immunodeficiency virus (PLWH) in the existing peer-reviewed literature, and discuss the strengths and limitations of how resilience is defined and studied in HIV research. We conducted a review of resilience research for HIV-related behaviors/outcomes of antiretroviral therapy (ART) adherence, clinic attendance, CD4 cell count, viral load, viral suppression, and/or immune functioning among PLWH. We performed searches using PubMed, PsycINFO and Google Scholar databases. The initial search generated 14,296 articles across the three databases, but based on our screening of these articles and inclusion criteria, n = 54 articles were included for review. The majority of HIV resilience research defines resilience only at the individual (i.e., psychological) level or studies individual and limited interpersonal resilience (e.g., social support). Furthermore, the preponderance of HIV resilience research uses general measures of resilience; these measures have not been developed with or tailored to the needs of PLWH. Our review suggests that a socioecological model of health approach can more fully represent the construct of resilience. Furthermore, measures specific to PLWH that capture individual, interpersonal, and neighborhood resilience are needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S6-S17
JournalAIDS Care - Psychological and Socio-Medical Aspects of AIDS/HIV
Issue numbersup5
StatePublished - Aug 23 2018


  • HIV
  • Resilience
  • multilevel
  • socioecological model

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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