Posttraumatic growth and well-being among people living with HIV: A systematic review and meta-analysis in recognition of 40 years of HIV/AIDS

Qual Life Res. 2022 May;31(5):1269-1288. doi: 10.1007/s11136-021-02990-3. Epub 2021 Sep 14.


Objectives: This systematic review and meta-analysis aimed to synthesize, analyze, and critically review existing studies on the relationship between posttraumatic growth (PTG) and psychological well-being (operationalized either via positive or negative well-being indicators) among people living with HIV (PLWH). We also investigated whether this association varies as a function of socio-demographic, clinical characteristics, and study publication year.

Method: We conducted a structured literature search on Web of Science, Scopus, MedLine, PsyARTICLES, ProQuest, and Google Scholar. The most important inclusion criteria encompassed quantitative and peer-reviewed articles published in English.

Results: After selection, we accepted 27 articles for further analysis (N = 6333 participants). Eight studies used positive indicators of well-being. The other 19 studies focused on negative indicators of well-being. Meta-analysis revealed that there was a negative weak-size association between PTG and negative well-being indicators (r = - 0.18, 95% CI [- 0.23; - 0.11]) and a positive medium-size association between PTG and positive well-being measures (r = 0.35, 95% CI [0.21; 0.47]). We detected no moderators.

Conclusions: The present meta-analysis and systematic review revealed expected negative and positive associations between PTG and negative versus positive well-being indicators among PLWH. Specifically, the relationship between PTG and positive well-being indicators was more substantial than the link between PTG and negative well-being measures in these patients. Finally, observed high heterogeneity between studies and several measurement problems call for significant modification and improvement of PTG research among PLWH.

Keywords: Adults; Distress; HIV/AIDS; Meta-analysis; Posttraumatic growth; Systematic review; Well-being.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome*
  • Frailty*
  • Humans
  • Posttraumatic Growth, Psychological*
  • Quality of Life / psychology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires