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AIDS Behav. 2016 Aug;20(8):1609-20. doi: 10.1007/s10461-016-1298-9.

Anxiety and Depressive Symptoms Among People Living with HIV and Childhood Sexual Abuse: The Role of Shame and Posttraumatic Growth.

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Center for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDS, Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA.
Division of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Yale School of Public Health, New Haven, CT, USA.
Department of Social Psychology, Clark University, Worcester, MA, USA.
Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, and Duke Global Institute, Duke University, Durham, NC, USA.
Department of Health Promotion and Behavior, University of Georgia, Athens, GA, USA.


There is a critical need to examine protective and risk factors of anxiety and depressive symptoms among people living with HIV in order to improve quality of life. Structural equation modeling was used to examine the associations between HIV-related shame, sexual abuse-related shame, posttraumatic growth, and anxiety and depressive symptoms among a cohort of 225 heterosexual women and men who have sex with men (MSM) living with HIV who have experienced childhood sexual abuse (CSA). Higher sexual abuse-related shame was related to more anxiety and depressive symptoms for heterosexual women. Higher posttraumatic growth predicted less anxiety symptoms for only heterosexual women. Higher posttraumatic growth predicted less depressive symptoms for heterosexual women and MSM, but the magnitude of this effect was stronger for heterosexual women than MSM. Psychosocial interventions may need to be tailored to meet the specific needs of heterosexual women and MSM living with HIV and CSA.


Anxiety and depression; Childhood sexual abuse; HIV; Posttraumatic growth; Shame

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