In this investigation of patterns of coping with AIDS or the threat of AIDS by male intravenous drug abusers (both HIV positive and HIV negative), psychosocial measures were used to study the effects of personality factors and social support. Correlational analyses and multiple hierarchical regression analyses were used to assess the results. The pathways by which psychosocial factors affected coping differed in HIV-positive and HTV-negative subjects. A mediational model best depicted the interrelation of personality, family, and peer factors among HIV-positive subjects. Anger and rebelliousness interfered with coping among HIV-negative subjects, but not among HIV-positive subjects. This cross-sectional study provides insight into the interplay of inner personality factors and external support factors and their effects on coping ability in male intravenous drug abusers. Differences between those with HIV and those at risk for HIV infection are discussed.