Suicidality and anxiety sensitivity in adults with HIV

AIDS Patient Care STDS. 2012 May;26(5):298-303. doi: 10.1089/apc.2011.0429. Epub 2012 Mar 8.


Suicide rates among HIV-positive individuals are more than three times higher than in the general population. Anxiety sensitivity (AS) may be clinically relevant to increasing our understanding of suicide among individuals with HIV. Specifically, relations between AS cognitive concerns and suicide related outcomes have been observed across a range of populations. The current investigation sought to examine the effect of AS and individual AS subfactors (i.e., cognitive, physical, and social concerns) in relation to suicidality in a sample of adults with HIV. Participants were 164 adults with HIV (17.1% women; mean age=48.40) recruited from AIDS service organizations in Vermont/New Hampshire and New York City. Findings from the current study indicate that AS cognitive concerns (β=0.46, p=0.001), but not the global AS factor, are positively associated with elevated rates of suicidality among persons with HIV above and beyond demographics, HIV relevant factors, and negative affectivity. There was also a negative trend for AS physical concerns in terms of suicidality (β=-0.25, p=0.07). Clinicians may benefit from implementing AS reduction strategies with HIV-positive persons who endorse elevated suicide risk as well as elevated AS cognitive concerns. The current study is limited by a cross-sectional design and lack of suicide attempt history. Future work would benefit from longitudinal examination of the observed relations, further inquiry regarding the relation between AS physical concerns and suicidality and a more comprehensive assessment of suicidality.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anxiety / epidemiology*
  • Anxiety / etiology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Depression / epidemiology*
  • Depression / etiology
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / complications
  • HIV Infections / epidemiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Psychometrics
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Suicide / statistics & numerical data*
  • Suicide Prevention
  • Suicide, Attempted / statistics & numerical data
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States / epidemiology