236673 Mental Health of Persons with HIV: Meaning in Life, Social Support, and Social Stress

Monday, October 31, 2011

Johnathan Hall , Psychology, University of North Texas, Denton, TX
Chwee-Lye Chng, PhD , Kinesiology, Health Promotion and Recreation, University of North Texas, Denton, TX
Mark Vosvick, PhD , Psychology, University of North Texas, Denton, TX
Meaning in life promotes mental health in the face of life-threatening conditions such as HIV (Vickberg et al., 2001). Persons living with HIV (PLWH) may use meaning in life to positively reframe their stressful situation (Holt, Houg, & Romano, 1999).While meaning in life for PLWH is highly influenced by social relationships and perceived support (Coleman, & Schaefer, 1992), these relationships can be an unexpected source of stress (Wohl et al., 2010). We hypothesized that fulfillment of meaning in life (FMIL), satisfaction with social support (SWSS), and social stress (SS) contribute a significant amount of variance in the mental health (MH) of PLWH. We also hypothesized that FMIL would mediate the relationship between SWSS and MH.

Using the Life Regard Index Revised, UCLA Social Support Inventory, and the MOS-HIV, we collected self-reported data from a convenience sample of 181 participants (99 men, 57% African-American, 27% European-American) recruited from AIDS service organizations in Dallas/Fort Worth.

Controlling for demographic variables, a hierarchical regression analysis confirmed that FMIL (=.46,t(180)=6.81, p<.001), and SS (=-.23,t(180)=-3.45, p=.001) explained 28% of the variance in MH among PLWH (AdjR2=.28,F(9,171)=8.90, p<.001). A mediation analysis using the Barron and Kenny (1986) protocol established that FMIL fully mediated the relationship between SWSS and MH (Sobel test: z=3.88, p<.001).

Consistent with previous research (Wohl et al., 2010; Coleman & Schaefer, 1992; Holt, Hough & Romano, 1999), our study findings suggest that public health research and policies must consider meaning in life and social support contexts when addressing mental health issues of HIV populations.

Learning Areas:
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
1. Explain how the interaction between social support and meaning in life can contribute mental health for PLWH. 2. Describe how stress within supportive relationships can have a negative effect on mental health for PLWH. 3. Discuss how the context of social relationships and the fulfillment of meaning in life are important factors to consider when planning public health and community interventions influencing mental health in HIV seropositive populations.

Keywords: Mental Health, HIV/AIDS

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am an assistant researcher at the Center for Psychosocial Health Research.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.