The differential impact of social relationships on health outcomes for HIV positive men and women
© 2016 by Emerald Group Publishing Limited. Purpose - This chapter examines the associations between gender, social support, and health outcomes for individuals living with HIV disease. We include social integration and social isolation as structural measures of social support as well as perceived social support and social conflict as functional measures of social support. We include both mental health and physical health outcomes, which are too often studied in isolation of each other. Methodology/approach - Data are from the Coping with HIV/AIDS in the Southeast (CHASE) study; this study reports on baseline data from 611 participants collected from 2001 to 2002. We first examined differences by gender and race, and then used blocked linear regression to determine the additive effects of the social support variables on both mental and physical health outcomes while controlling for potential confounders. Findings - There were notable differences in the significance and strength of social support variables in health outcome models for men and women. Unlike men, social conflict was the strongest predictor of greater psychological distress and poorer physical health-related quality of life among women. Research limitations/implications - While the results from this study contribute to a greater understanding of gender differences in the relationships between social support and health outcomes, the data used for this study are limited to those living with HIV/AIDS in the Southeast. Originality/value - Our findings suggest that social conflict may be more detrimental for the health of women than men.
Grand, SL; Scheid, TL; Whetten, K
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