, Volume 3, Issue 3, pp 195-204

African-American Women and Self-Disclosure of HIV Infection: Rates, Predictors, and Relationship to Depressive Symptomatology

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Unlike the prevalence rate of AIDS diagnoses for men, the prevalence rate for women has not reached a plateau. Moreover, the rate of AIDS diagnosis for African-American women is 17 times higher than for White women. In the context of considerable stress, these women must grapple with the question of to whom they can disclose their HIV diagnosis with minimal risk of negative consequences. This study examines patterns of disclosure to significant others, predictors of disclosure, and the relationship between disclosure and psychological functioning. Analyses indicated that women disclosed at varying rates to six different categories of others. Disclosure to mothers (66%) was most common, followed by disclosure to partners (56%). Rates of disclosure to children (28%) and fathers (25%) were lowest. Women's illness status predicted disclosure to father and friends. Only disclosure to partner was significantly related to women's psychological functioning: Fewer symptoms of depression were evident in women who had disclosed their HIV status to their partners compared to those who had not disclosed.

Correspondence should be directed to Lisa Armistead, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, Georgia State University, University Plaza, Atlanta, Georgia 30303