Date of Award


Degree Type

Closed Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Lindsey Cohen, Ph.D. - Committee Chair

Second Advisor

Andy Blalock, Ph.D. - Committee Member

Third Advisor

Chris Henrich, Ph.D. - Committee Member

Fourth Advisor

John Peterson, Ph.D. - Committee Member

Fifth Advisor

Lisa Armistead, Ph.D. - Committee Member


Human immune deficiency virus (HIV) and Acquire immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) is a worldwide epidemic that impacts individuals physically, socially, and psychologically, and the rates of HIV/AIDS in youth are rising. Antiretroviral treatments have drastically prolonged life in individuals with HIV/AIDS; however, this type of treatment requires strict medication adherence. Many psychosocial factors impacting antiretroviral adherence have been explored, yet very little has been investigated regarding body image. This study investigated the potential impact of body dissatisfaction on antiretroviral medication adherence in adolescents with HIV. Seventy five male and female youth were administered questionnaires on the constructs of body dissatisfaction and medication adherence. Results support the hypothesis that body dissatisfaction negatively impacts medication adherence; yet, its effect in this sample was small (R2 = .06; F(1,61) =3.87, p =.05). Additionally, it was predicted that gender would moderate the nature of the relation between body dissatisfaction and medication adherence, given the disparate societal presentations of ideal body types among genders. However, within the current sample, gender did not have an effect on this relation. Furthermore, this study was interested in exploring if body dissatisfaction within a population of HIV-infected youth was best explained by specific body dissatisfaction with areas of the body associated with lipodystrophy or lipoatrophy syndromes. Due to a very small presentation of these syndromes in the final sample (n = 4), it was not surprising that body dissatisfaction was not best explained through specific dissatisfaction with these body parts. However, dissatisfaction with muscularity in general, was predictive of general body dissatisfaction regardless of gender. A discussion of these findings is included. This study is one of the first of its kind to explore the potential detrimental effects of body dissatisfaction in HIV infected youth.