Emotional distress among HIV-positive individuals: The roles of acute negative life events and psychological diatheses

John E. Roberts, Jeffrey A. Ciesla, David M. Direnfeld, Ross G. Hewitt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations

Abstract

The present study investigated the impact of negative life events and psychological diatheses (neuroticism, low self-esteem, and dysfunctional attitudes) on emotional distress among HIV-positive patients. Fifty-two participants completed questionnaires assessing acute stressful life events, psychological diatheses, perceived stress, and depressive symptoms. The following hypotheses were tested: (a) negative life events would predict depressive symptoms and perceived stress; (b) HIV-specific life events would be more strongly associated with depressive symptoms and perceived stress than general life events; and (c) psychological diatheses would moderate the relationship between acute life events and depressive symptoms, as well as the relationship between life events and perceived stress. Results indicated that both general and HIV-specific life events predicted depressive symptoms and perceived stress. However, no support was found for the hypothesis that HIV-related life events would be more potent. Psychological diatheses moderated the impact of life events on perceived stress, such that life events had a greater impact on those with lower levels of vulnerability. These results remained significant after controlling for biological markers of disease progression.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)241-257
Number of pages17
JournalPersonality and Individual Differences
Volume30
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 19 Jan 2001
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Depressive symptoms
  • Diatheses
  • Dysfunctional attitudes
  • HIV
  • Life events
  • Neuroticism
  • Perceived stress
  • Self-esteem

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