Identification of psychobiological stressors among HIV-positive women. HIV Neurobehavioral Research Center (HNRC) Group.
This research describes major stressors in the lives of women who have been infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Thirty-one HIV antibody positive (HIV+) women infected primarily through heterosexual contact participated in a two hour semi-structured interview detailing the circumstances, context, and consequences of all stressful life events and difficulties experienced within the preceding six months. Qualitative methods of data analyses were utilized (Miles & Huberman, 1984). HIV-related life events and difficulties were classified into primary and secondary stressors based on the stress process model (Pearlin et al., 1981). Problems arising directly from one's seropositivity were defined as primary stressors. Stressful life events and difficulties occurring in other role areas were defined as secondary stressors. Six categories of HIV-related stressors were identified and quantified. Primary stressors were health-related, and included both gynecological problems (e.g., amenorrhea) and general symptoms of HIV infection (e.g., fatigue). Secondary stressors related to child and family (e.g., future guardianship of children), marital/partner relations (e.g., disclosure of HIV+ status), occupation (e.g., arranging time-off for medical appointments), economic problems (e.g., insurance "hassles"), and social network events (e.g., death of friends from AIDS). This research indicates that HIV-positive women are exposed to multiple stressors; some may be viewed as unique to women, whereas others may be considered common to both sexes. Identification of stressors has implications for the design of medical and psychiatric interventions for women.
Semple, SJ; Patterson, TL; Temoshok, LR; McCutchan, JA; Straits-Tröster, KA; Chandler, JL; Grant, I
Volume / Issue
Start / End Page
Pubmed Central ID
International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)