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[ Recorded presentation ] Recorded presentation

HIV infection, life stressors, and interpersonal relationship power: The moderating role of community-based resources

Bethany Ketchen, MA1, Lisa Armistead, PhD1, and Sarah Cook, PhD2. (1) Georgia State University, 140 Decatur Street, Department of Psychology, Atlanta, GA 30303, 404-463-9766, bketchen@student.gsu.edu, (2) Psychology, Georgia State University, P.O. Box 5010, Atlanta, GA 30303

Background: As a result of a confluence of political and cultural factors, Black South African women are economically and socially vulnerable. Their vulnerability translates into limited power in intimate relationships, which confers numerous health risks. This study explored whether negative life events and/or HIV infection relate directly to women's relationship power or are moderated by community-level variables (i.e., knowledge, helpfulness, & use of resources).

Methods: Participants were 104 women living with HIV (WLWH) and 152 non-infected women, from Pretoria, South Africa. Two aspects of intimate relationship power were considered: relationship control (e.g., Partner controls what I wear) and decision-making dominance (e.g., Who decides what you do together?). Decision-making dominance was divided into three subscales (i.e., male/female dominant and mutual).

Results: For relationship control, fewer life stressors were associated with more control. For decision-making dominance, several main and interaction effects were observed. With better knowledge about the availability of community resources non-infected women's relationships (but not WLWH) were characterized by more mutual decision-making. However, more frequent family use of community resources was related to less female dominated decisions for both groups of women. For helpfulness, a significant interaction revealed that WLWH perceived their male partners as less dominant when they their community resources to be more helpful.

Conclusions: This study suggests that life stressors and HIV infection may compromise relationship power. Reliance on community resources (i.e., frequent use) was also inversely related to power. However, knowledge about resources and perceived helpfulness of these resources appear to promote relationship power.

Learning Objectives:

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Any relevant financial relationships? No

[ Recorded presentation ] Recorded presentation

Black South African Women Living With HIV: The Roles of Trauma, Power, And Disclosure In Their Lives

The 134th Annual Meeting & Exposition (November 4-8, 2006) of APHA