The protective role of the family and social support network in a sample of HIV-positive African American women: Results of a pilot study

Michael Robbins, Jose Szapocznik, Manuel Tejeda, Deanne Samuels, Gail Ironson, Michael H Antoni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

23 Scopus citations


This study examined the role of family functioning and social support inprotecting HIV-positive African American women from the adverse psychological consequences associated with deterioration in their CD4 cell count. Participants were 38 African American HIV-positive women who had recently given birth. Results demonstrated that changes in CD4 cell counts were inversely predictive of psychological distress and were moderated by family functioning and social support satisfaction. Women with good family functioning were less affected by changes in their CD4 cell counts, and women with poor family functioning were more emotionally responsive to changes in CD4 cell count. Unexpectedly, women from families where conflicts tended to be clearly laid out and discussed were also more responsive to both changes in CD4 cell counts. Interventions are recommended that increase a client's social support satisfaction, foster an adaptive level of connectedness to family, and enhance the family's range of conflict resolution styles.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17-37
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Black Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2003



  • African American
  • Family
  • Social support

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Anthropology

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