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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.

Author information

1
Department of Health Policy, Institute for Global Health, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, 2525 West End Ave Suite 750, Nashville, TN 37203 USA.
2
Nursing and Allied Health, Regents Online Campus Collaborative, Tennessee Board of Regents, Memphis, USA.
3
School of Nursing, Vanderbilt University, 421 Godchaux Hall, Nashville, TN 37240 USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

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.

METHODS:

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).

RESULTS:

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.

CONCLUSIONS:

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.

KEYWORDS:

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

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