Positive Psychological Factors are Linked to Successful Cognitive Aging Among Older Persons Living with HIV/AIDS

AIDS Behav. 2018 May;22(5):1551-1561. doi: 10.1007/s10461-017-2001-5.


We aimed to characterize successful cognitive aging (SCA) among older HIV-infected (HIV+) and HIV-uninfected (HIV-) adults, and to determine associations with positive psychological factors and health-related quality of life (HRQoL). Ninety-nine HIV+ and 46 HIV- older adults (≥ 50 years) completed measures of neurocognition, positive psychological factors, and HRQoL. Using study-defined SCA criteria (i.e., no cognitive or everyday impairment or major depressive disorder), we compared positive psychological factors and HRQoL across four groups: HIV+/SCA+, HIV+/SCA-, HIV-/SCA+, HIV-/SCA-. SCA was identified in 29% of the HIV+ sample compared to 61% of the HIV- sample (p < 0.01). HIV+/SCA+ participants had higher scores on 8 of 10 measures of positive psychological factors as well as better HRQoL (ps < 0.05) as compared to the HIV+/SCA- group. Furthermore, the HIV+/SCA+ participants had comparable scores on these factors as HIV- adults. Fewer HIV+ than HIV- participants met SCA criteria; however, the level of positive psychological factors among the HIV+/SCA+ group was comparable to the HIV- sample. Our findings present opportunities for interventions to optimize positive psychological factors and potentially improve SCA among older HIV+ adults.

Keywords: Aging; Cognition; HIV/AIDS; Health-related quality of life; Positive Psychology.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living / psychology*
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging / psychology
  • Cognition
  • Cognition Disorders / psychology*
  • Cognitive Aging / psychology*
  • Depression / psychology*
  • Female
  • HIV Seronegativity*
  • HIV Seropositivity / psychology*
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Quality of Life*