Psychological Resources Protect Health: Five-Year Survival and Immune Function Among HIV-Infected Women From Four U.S. Cities
January 3, 2007
Directed by Cognitive Adaptation Theory, the authors of the current study aimed to asses whether psychological resources (positive affect, positive expectancy regarding health outcomes, finding meaning in challenging circumstances) are protective against HIV-related mortality and decline in CD4 lymphocyte counts among HIV-positive women.
The authors employed the HIV Epidemiological Research Study, a longitudinal prospective cohort study, along with semi-annual interview, physical examination and laboratory assays.
Researchers recruited 773 HIV-positive women ages 16-55 from four academic medical facilities in Baltimore, Md.; Bronx, New York; Providence, R.I.; and Detroit, Mich. On a semi-annual basis for up to five years, the women were interviewed and underwent physical examination, medical record abstraction, and venipuncture. HIV-related mortality and CD4 cell count decline over five years were included in the primary outcomes for these analyses.
Results showed psychological resources were inversely associated with HIV-related mortality and time to death, beyond the effects of potential confounding variables including clinical status (e.g., HIV viral load, symptoms, antiretroviral treatment); sociodemographic characteristics (e.g., race, age); and depression at study entry (P"Psychological resources may protect against HIV-related mortality and immune system decline," the authors concluded. "Findings have implications for understanding individual variability in HIV disease progression. Moreover, because psychological resources are potentially amenable to change, results can be applied to clinical interventions aimed at improving the health of women with HIV."
09.11.06; Vol. 20; No. 14: P. 1851-1860; Jeannette R. Ickovics; Stephanie Milan; Robert Boland; Ellie Schoenbaum; Paula Schuman; David Vlahov; the HIV Epidemiology Research Study Group