Original Paper

AIDS and Behavior

, Volume 11, Issue 1, pp 5-14

First online:

A Randomized Clinical Trial of Two Telephone-Delivered, Mental Health Interventions for HIV-Infected Persons in Rural Areas of the United States

  • Timothy G. HeckmanAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, Ohio UniversityMedical College of Wisconsin Email author 
  • , Bruce CarlsonAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, Ohio University

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Through December 2003, more than 55,300 persons were living in small towns and rural areas of the United States at the time of their AIDS diagnosis. Many HIV-infected rural persons experience elevated levels of depression, suicidal ideation, and anxiety. This research tested if two telephone-delivered, mental health interventions could facilitate the adjustment efforts of persons living with HIV/AIDS in rural areas of the United States. Participants (N=299) were recruited through AIDS service organizations in 13 states and assigned to a Usual Care Condition (n=107), an 8-session Information Support Group Intervention (n=84), or an 8-session Coping Improvement Group Intervention (n=108). Participants completed self-administered surveys at pre-intervention, post-intervention, and 4- and 8-month follow-ups. ANCOVA revealed that no treatment condition produced reductions in the main outcome measures of depressive and psychological symptoms; however, Information Support participants received significantly more support from friends at 4- and 8-month follow-ups and reported fewer barriers to health care and social services at 4-month follow-up compared to participants in the other two conditions. Telephone-delivered, information-support groups have potential to increase perceptions of support and reduce barriers to health care and social services in this population, but the practical significance of these intervention-related changes is limited.


HIV AIDS Rural Telephone Mental health intervention