Psychological symptoms among persons 50 years of age and older living with HIV disease.
Although persons 50 years of age and older account for 10% of all US AIDS cases, the mental health needs of this growing group remain largely overlooked. The current study delineated patterns and predictors of psychological symptoms amongst late middle-aged and older adults living with HIV/AIDS in two large US cities. In late 1998, 83 HIV-infected individuals 50-plus years of age (M = 55.2, Range = 50-69) completed self-report surveys eliciting data on psychological symptomatology, HIV-related life-stressor burden, social support, barriers to health care and social services, and sociodemographic characteristics. Based on the Beck Depression Inventory, 25% of participants reported 'moderate' or 'severe' levels of depression. HIV-infected older adults also evidenced an elevated number of symptoms characteristic of somatization. A hierarchical multiple regression analysis revealed that HIV-infected older adults who endorsed more psychological symptoms also reported more HIV-related life-stressor burden, less support from friends, and reduced access to health care and social services due to AIDS-related stigma. As the impact of HIV on older communities continues to increase, geropractitioners must be prepared to provide care to greater numbers of HIV-infected older adults, a substantial minority of whom will present with complex comorbid physical and mental health conditions.
Heckman, TG; Heckman, BD; Kochman, A; Sikkema, KJ; Suhr, J; Goodkin, K
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