Stress and coping in women living with HIV: A meta-analytic review

Roger C. McIntosh, Monica Rosselli

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

76 Scopus citations


To examine effects between stressors and coping mechanisms on behavioral health outcomes a metaanalysis was conducted using forty empirical articles which sampled 7,602 adult women living with HIV/AIDS in the U.S. (M = 36.3 years). Three independent reviewers conducted searches in abstract databases from 1997 to present day. Articles reporting effect sizes amongst psychosocial stressors and coping mechanisms with indices of behavioral/mental health were selected. The meta-analyses revealed that in a time frame characterized by the widespread availability of anti-retroviral medication, poor mental health outcomes were predicted, in a similar manner, by psychosocial stress and HIV/AIDS symptomology. Significant effects were also observed with functional impairment, though to a lesser degree. Coping by avoidance and social isolation predicted more severe mental health outcomes. Spirituality and positive reappraisal predicted greater psychological adaptation than did social support seeking. Despite advancements in anti-retroviral treatment for women, HIV/AIDS symptoms and acute and/or chronic psychosocial stress pose the same threat to behavioral and mental health. In the face of these stressors, positive reframing appears to promote psychological adaptation in a way which may lead to positive health outcomes in women living with HIV/AIDS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2144-2159
Number of pages16
JournalAIDS and Behavior
Issue number8
StatePublished - Nov 1 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • AIDS
  • Coping
  • Disease adjustment
  • HIV
  • Mental health
  • Stress
  • Women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases


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