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BMC Psychol. 2015 May 2;3(1):15. doi: 10.1186/s40359-015-0070-7. eCollection 2015.

Finding meaning in life while living with HIV: validation of a novel HIV meaningfulness scale among HIV-infected participants living in Tennessee.

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Department of Health Policy, Institute for Global Health, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, 2525 West End Ave Suite 750, Nashville, TN 37203 USA.
Nursing and Allied Health, Regents Online Campus Collaborative, Tennessee Board of Regents, Memphis, USA.
School of Nursing, Vanderbilt University, 421 Godchaux Hall, Nashville, TN 37240 USA.



People living with HIV who maintain a positive outlook on their future may manage stress better than those who do not, leading to improved coping behaviors and better health outcomes.


While studying 125 HIV+ adults participating in two clinical trials of expressive writing we assessed their HIV-specific meaningfulness of life with a short, unidimensional scale (the HIVMS).


The HIVMS had a strong Cronbach's alpha (0.80) and acceptable test-retest reliability (0.70). HIVMS scores were strongly correlated with measures of perceived control, optimism, and psychological well-being. Participants with lower HIVMS scores had higher probability of non-adherence to antiretroviral medication, suggesting a decreased ability to manage their illness successfully. Neither the control nor expressive writing intervention groups showed increased HIVMS scores.


Future research is necessary to determine the effect of HIV meaning on long-term health outcomes and to develop interventions that can significantly improve a person's perception of their meaning in life.


HIV Meaning; HIV/AIDS; Psychological well-being; Purpose In life; Southern US

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