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Women Health. 2009 Mar-May;49(2-3):119-43. doi: 10.1080/03630240902915036.

Spiritual well-being, depressive symptoms, and immune status among women living with HIV/AIDS.

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Emory University, Nell Hidgson Woodruff School of Nursing, Atlanta, Georgia 30322, USA.


Spirituality is a resource some HIV-positive women use to cope with HIV, and it also may have positive impact on physical health. This cross-sectional study examined associations of spiritual well-being, with depressive symptoms, and CD4 cell count and percentages among a non-random sample of 129 predominantly African-American HIV-positive women. Significant inverse associations were observed between depressive symptoms and spiritual well-being (r = -.55, p = .0001), and its components, existential well-being (r = -.62, p = .0001) and religious well-being (r = -.36, p = .0001). Significant positive associations were observed between existential well-being and CD4 cell count (r = .19, p < .05) and also between spiritual well-being (r = .24, p < .05), religious well-being (r = .21, p < .05), and existential well-being (r = .22, p < .05) and CD4 cell percentages. In this sample of HIV-positive women, spiritual well-being, existential well-being, and religious well-being accounted for a significant amount of variance in depressive symptoms and CD4 cell percentages, above and beyond that explained by demographic variables, HIV medication adherence, and HIV viral load (log). Depressive symptoms were not significantly associated with CD4 cell counts or percentages. A significant relationship was observed between spiritual/religious practices (prayer/meditation and reading spiritual/religious material) and depressive symptoms. Further research is needed to examine relationships between spirituality and mental and physical health among HIV-positive women.

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