Coping, drug use, and religiosity/spirituality in relation to HIV serostatus among gay and bisexual men

AIDS Educ Prev. 2010 Oct;22(5):417-29. doi: 10.1521/aeap.2010.22.5.417.


Cross-sectional data were collected on a sample of 259 gay and bisexual, male-identified individuals as part of a larger study of the psychosocial functioning of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons. Analyses considered differences between HIV-positive and HIV-negative men in relation to active and religious coping strategies; avoidant coping strategies (specifically, illicit drug use); and the psychosocial states of anxiety, hostility, and depression in relation to self-reported HIV-status of the participants. As compared with HIV-negative men, the HIV positive participants indicated a greater likelihood of engaging in illicit substance use within the previous 3 months, as well as higher levels of both active and religious coping strategies. Illicit substance use also was found to be related to higher levels of depression, anxiety, and hostility. A multivariate model indicated a significant difference in substance-based and active coping strategies among the men surveyed, with persons with a self-reported HIV-positive serostatus endorsing higher levels of both strategies. These results and their implications for prevention and future research are discussed, rooted in the understanding that a complex reality for coping is often enacted by HIV-positive men.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Bisexuality*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • HIV Seropositivity / psychology*
  • Homosexuality, Male*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Statistical
  • New York
  • Spirituality*
  • Substance-Related Disorders*
  • Young Adult