The impact of shame on health-related quality of life among HIV-positive adults with a history of childhood sexual abuse.
Childhood sexual abuse is prevalent among people living with HIV, and the experience of shame is a common consequence of childhood sexual abuse and HIV infection. This study examined the role of shame in health-related quality of life among HIV-positive adults who have experienced childhood sexual abuse. Data from 247 HIV-infected adults with a history of childhood sexual abuse were analyzed. Hierarchical linear regression was conducted to assess the impact of shame regarding both sexual abuse and HIV infection, while controlling for demographic, clinical, and psychosocial factors. In bivariate analyses, shame regarding sexual abuse and HIV infection were each negatively associated with health-related quality of life and its components (physical well-being, function and global well-being, emotional and social well-being, and cognitive functioning). After controlling for demographic, clinical, and psychosocial factors, HIV-related, but not sexual abuse-related, shame remained a significant predictor of reduced health-related quality of life, explaining up to 10% of the variance in multivariable models for overall health-related quality of life, emotional, function and global, and social well-being and cognitive functioning over and above that of other variables entered into the model. Additionally, HIV symptoms, perceived stress, and perceived availability of social support were associated with health-related quality of life in multivariable models. Shame is an important and modifiable predictor of health-related quality of life in HIV-positive populations, and medical and mental health providers serving HIV-infected populations should be aware of the importance of shame and its impact on the well-being of their patients.
Persons, E; Kershaw, T; Sikkema, KJ; Hansen, NB
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