Health related behaviors and specific biopsychosocial factors in women with HIV/AIDS
Johanson, Caroline M.
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Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), which progresses into Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS), is a disease, the prevalence of which continues to grow. As the population of women with HIV/AIDS continues to grow, research continues to lag behind in studies addressing factors that impact quality of life. Health related behaviors, such as medication compliance, substance use and abuse, and participation in mental health treatment, impact the quality of life for women with HIV/AIDS. Utilizing the biopsychosocial model (Engel, 1977), six variables, including severity of disease, self-esteem, feminist identity, depression, anxiety, and social support of women with HIV/AIDS, were studied in regard to the three health related behaviors listed above. In the current study, women with HIV/AIDS were recruited through snowball sampling on the Internet. Participants completed seven questionnaires and scales, including a demographic questionnaire, the HIV symptoms scale, Patient health questionnaire-2, Patient health questionnaire-anxiety, Rosenberg self-esteem scale, Feminist identity development scale, and the Multidimensional scale of perceived social support. The six biopsychosocial variables were statistically analyzed using cluster analysis to examine possible groupings of participants. Three clusters were identified. One cluster included participants who did not endorse having depression or anxiety and reported higher levels of social support and self-esteem when compared to the other clusters. Another cluster included participants who endorsed having depression and lower rates of self-esteem and social support than the first cluster. The third cluster reported the highest rates of anxiety and the lowest rates of social support and self-esteem. The clusters of participants were then analyzed with a MANOVA and Pearson chi-squared tests to identify the possible impact they had on health related behaviors. Medication compliance and alcohol abuse were identified as significantly related to the participants' identified cluster. As rates of mental illness increased and rates of self-esteem and social support decreased, it was found that rates of medication noncompliance and alcohol abuse also increased.