The psychosocial impact of HIV infection in women

J Psychosom Res. 1993 Oct;37(7):687-96. doi: 10.1016/0022-3999(93)90097-y.


The aim of the investigation was to study the prevalence of current and past psychiatric morbidity and psychosocial problems in HIV seropositive (HIV +ve) asymptomatic women. A cross-sectional controlled study including 57 HIV +ve women belonging to CDC group II and III (43 intravenous drug users and 14 non-IVDUs heterosexuals) and 23 HIV -ve women (15 intravenous drug users and 8 non-IVDUs heterosexuals) is reported. Outcome measures included, past psychiatric history, current psychological status (Zung Anxiety and Depression scales, Symptom Check List 90-Revised), Social Supports and Locus of Control Scales, and information on changes in work, social and sexual life after HIV testing. Results showed that HIV +ve women differed very little from HIV -ve controls regarding outcome measures and indeed for some variables HIV infected women had lower levels of psychological morbidity. Multiple regression analyses showed that alcohol misuse and a predominantly external locus of control accounted for the 29% of the variance of psychiatric distress (F = 9.23, p < 0.0006). The implications of the findings are discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adult
  • Anxiety / diagnosis
  • Anxiety / psychology
  • Depression / diagnosis
  • Depression / psychology
  • Female
  • Gender Identity*
  • HIV Seropositivity / psychology*
  • HIV Seropositivity / transmission
  • Humans
  • Internal-External Control
  • Personality Inventory
  • Sexual Behavior
  • Sick Role*
  • Substance Abuse, Intravenous / complications
  • Substance Abuse, Intravenous / psychology