AIDS and Behavior

, Volume 15, Issue 2, pp 376–388 | Cite as

Challenges in Addressing Depression in HIV Research: Assessment, Cultural Context, and Methods

  • Jane M. SimoniEmail author
  • Steven A. Safren
  • Lisa E. Manhart
  • Karen Lyda
  • Cynthia I. Grossman
  • Deepa Rao
  • Matthew J. Mimiaga
  • Frank Y. Wong
  • Sheryl L. Catz
  • Michael B. Blank
  • Ralph DiClemente
  • Ira B. Wilson
Original paper


Depression is one of the most common co-morbidities of HIV infection. It negatively impacts self-care, quality of life, and biomedical outcomes among people living with HIV (PLWH) and may interfere with their ability to benefit from health promotion interventions. State-of-the-science research among PLWH, therefore, must address depression. To guide researchers, we describe the main diagnostic, screening, and symptom-rating measures of depression, offering suggestions for selecting the most appropriate instrument. We also address cultural considerations in the assessment of depression among PLWH, emphasizing the need to consider measurement equivalence and offering strategies for developing measures that are valid cross-culturally. Finally, acknowledging the high prevalence of depression among PLWH, we provide guidance to researchers on incorporating depression into the theoretical framework of their studies and employing procedures that account for participants with depression.


HIV/AIDS Depression Research methods Measurement 



Portions of some of the investigators’ time were supported by the University of Washington Center for AIDS Research (CFAR; P30 AI027757), which is supported by the following NIH Institutes and Centers: NIAID, NCI, NIMH, NIDA, NICHD, NHLBI, NCCAM. Cynthia Grossman’s contribution to this work was written as part of her official duties as a government employee. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of the NIMH, NIH, Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), or the US government. The authors would like to thank the Centers for AIDS Research Social and Behavioral Science Research Network for its support of this work.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jane M. Simoni
    • 1
    Email author
  • Steven A. Safren
    • 2
  • Lisa E. Manhart
    • 3
  • Karen Lyda
    • 4
  • Cynthia I. Grossman
    • 5
  • Deepa Rao
    • 6
  • Matthew J. Mimiaga
    • 7
  • Frank Y. Wong
    • 8
  • Sheryl L. Catz
    • 9
  • Michael B. Blank
    • 10
  • Ralph DiClemente
    • 8
  • Ira B. Wilson
    • 11
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA
  2. 2.Harvard Medical School/Massachusetts General HospitalBostonUSA
  3. 3.Department of EpidemiologyUW Center for AIDS and STDSeattleUSA
  4. 4.Division of Infectious Disease, School of MedicineUniversity of Colorado Denver, University of Colorado HospitalAuroraUSA
  5. 5.Center for Mental Health Research on AIDSNational Institute of Mental HealthBethesdaUSA
  6. 6.Department of Global HealthUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA
  7. 7.Fenway Community HealthBostonUSA
  8. 8.Rollins School of Public HealthEmory UniversityAtlantaUSA
  9. 9.Group Health Research InstituteSeattleUSA
  10. 10.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of Pennsylvania School of MedicinePhiladelphiaUSA
  11. 11.Institute for Clinical Research and Health Policy StudiesTufts Medical CenterBostonUSA

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