Date of Award

Spring 4-11-2011

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Frank Floyd

Abstract

Compared to their uninfected peers, youth living with HIV experience greater distress related to a multitude of stressors they face. In order to enhance the lives of youth who are living with HIV, it is important to identify the personal and social resources that these individuals might bring to coping with their disease. Using the compensatory hypothesis and resiliency theory as conceptual frameworks, the present study examined the function of both psychological acceptance and sibling relationships for youths in managing depression and HIV-related stigma. In addition, the current study investigated the interactive effects of psychological acceptance and sibling relationship quality on these outcomes for youths living with HIV. The participants for the current study included 68 youth who were recruited as part of another study examining adolescents infected with HIV and their caregivers. The racial composition of the final sample consisted of 94% African Americans and 6 % who identified as another racial minority. The current sample consisted of 28 males, 38 females, and 2 transgendered youth between the ages of 12 and 23 (M= 17.9, SD= 2.8). In the sample, 56% of youth were perinatally infected and 44% were behaviorally infected. Regression analyses indicated no support for the complex associations among resources posited in the resiliency model and the compensatory hypothesis. Greater psychological acceptance was associated with both less depression and less stigma. Both the positive and negative aspects of sibling relationships demonstrated importance for youth’s psychological well-being, such that supportive sibling relationships were associated with lower depression and negative sibling relationships were associated with greater perceived stigma. Exploratory analyses demonstrated interactions with gender, age, and route of transmission not explained by the proposed models, which suggests that further research is needed to understand their impact. Future research endeavors should examine the efficacy of intervention programs in individual and group settings to determine if the predicted benefit of both personal and social resources are compounding factors in the psychosocial well-being for youth living with HIV.

Included in

Psychology Commons

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