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J Gay Lesbian Med Assoc. 2002 Mar;6(1):19-26.

Differences in Adjustment in HIV+ African American Heterosexual and Homosexual Women.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Center for Family Studies, University of Miami School of Medicine, Miami, Florida 33136.


This preliminary study explores differences in adjustment in lesbians and heterosexual women by examining three dimensions: psychological distress, major depression, and social support. Surveys were administered to 48 participants. HIV-positive African American lesbians experienced higher levels of psychological distress, anxiety, and current major depression than did their heterosexual counterparts. Lesbians reported less social support from their immediate family, but not from other sources such as friends, compared to the heterosexual women. Lesbians also reported less satisfaction with their social support network. The results presented here highlight the merit of future research to examine factors associated with the lack of family-based social support in HIV-infected lesbians and the potential of developing interventions that assess relationships with members of the immediate family, explore the possibility of repairing these relationships, and capitalize on social support from friends.

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