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Help develop HIV service - email study
      #80826 - 01/14/04 07:38 AM

Dear all,

Please help me by completing a (hopefully thought-provoking) questionnaire and emailing it back to me.

My name is Christiaan Morgan, and I am currently working as a clinical psychologist at a central London sexual health clinic. I am also researching and writing a study looking at factors which help people who are living with long-term illness. This study will be used to develop the service at the clinic, and may be submitted for publication.

Specifically, the study is questionnaire based about how people have adjusted to living with HIV or AIDS. How do people "find meaning" in illness? Are there particular aspects of the experience (positive and negative) which affected the way in which people adjust? The study focuses upon how "finding meaning" helps general well-being, and the role of insight into that process.

I am looking for males to take part, who have had a diagnosis for at least 6 months Currently, not much is known about this topic. Studies with people living with other illnesses have shown that people who are able to find meaning are more likely to have better outcomes, both physically and psychologically. However, we do not know whether it is important that people find meaning, or the type of meaning that they find. Is ignorance bliss? Is it better to simply focus on the positive, or achieve a realistic "balance" in our appraisals? What is the difference between thoughtful insight and "dwelling"? Research into this area is lacking, and I hope to add to the growing body of research that suggests that "well-being" is more than a simple absence of negative symptoms, and that some people are able to grow in many ways when faced with adversity.

If you do choose to take part, I can email you a questionnaire, or send one with a freepost envelope. The study is anonymous, although a (false) name is asked for in case you want to withdraw.

The information, questionnaire and freepost address is also available online at http://members.lycos.co.uk/northcircular74/index.htm - it can be downloaded in word or RTF format and emailed back to me.

If you would like more information, or would like to request a questionnaire, you can contact me by email on christiaan.morgan@btinternet.com. I am happy to keep you informed as to the outcome of the study, and send on copies of any articles written. All questionnaires will be kept confidentially, and destroyed after the study is complete. In particular - no individual will be identified. I have been granted ethical approval from the University of London.

In particular, I would be grateful if people using this site would participate, as the use of sites like these can be seen as a particularly good example of "meaning-finding". I know that people visiting clinics often suffer from "research exhaustion", but it would be very useful to get your help in a more psychological study. This type of study, whilst not often seen as "vital" in many respects, may really help to develop the service we provide to people having problems in adjusting to their diagnosis.

Thanks for your time,

Christiaan Morgan

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