Written emotional disclosure and processing of trauma are associated with protected health status and immunity in people living with HIV/AIDS

Conall O'Cleirigh, Gail Ironson, Mary Ann Fletcher, Neil Schneiderman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

19 Scopus citations


Objective. This study compared written emotional disclosure and processing of trauma among a relatively rare group of people with AIDS with atypically favourable disease status with an HIV+ comparison group. The study also examined the mediational role of emotional/cognitive processing and natural killer (NK) cells. Design. This study utilized a cross-sectional group comparison design. Method. Two HIV+ groups, the Healthy Survivors (N = 37; > 9-months with < 50 CD4 cells/mm3 and asymptomatic), and an HIV+ comparison groups (N = 100) wrote essays describing their reactions to past traumas; these were scored for emotional disclosure/processing. Results. Healthy survivors had higher levels of emotional disclosure and emotional/cognitive processing than the comparison group. Emotional/cognitive processing mediated the relationship between emotional disclosure and group membership. NK cell number mediated the relationship between emotional/cognitive processing and 'healthy survival'. Conclusions. The results suggest that higher levels of emotional disclosure and processing of trauma may confer health and immunological benefits to people living with HIV/AIDS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)81-84
Number of pages4
JournalBritish Journal of Health Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2008


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology

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