AIDS and Behavior

, Volume 19, Issue 1, pp 41–49 | Cite as

HIV Stigma and Physical Health Symptoms: Do Social Support, Adaptive Coping, and/or Identity Centrality Act as Resilience Resources?

  • Valerie A. Earnshaw
  • Shawn M. Lang
  • Margaret Lippitt
  • Harry Jin
  • Stephenie R. Chaudoir
Original Paper


Despite efforts to eliminate it at the societal level, HIV stigma persists and continues to threaten the health of people living with HIV (PLWH). We tested whether social support, adaptive coping, and/or HIV identity centrality act as resilience resources by buffering people from the negative impact of enacted and/or anticipated stigma on stress and ultimately HIV symptoms. Ninety-three PLWH completed a survey, and data analyses tested for evidence of mediation and moderation. Results demonstrated that instrumental social support, perceived community support, and HIV identity centrality buffered participants from the association between anticipated stigma and HIV symptoms. That is, anticipated stigma was associated with HIV symptoms via stress only at low levels of these resources. No resources buffered participants from the impact of enacted stigma. Identifying and enhancing resilience resources among PLWH is critical for protecting PLWH from the harmful effects of stigma.


HIV Identity centrality Resilience Social support Stigma Palabras claves VIH Identidad central Resaltar Soporte social Estigma 


A pesar de los esfuerzo para eliminar en todos los niveles sociales, el estigma del VIH, este continua amenazando la salud de las personas viviendo con VIH (PLWH). Nosotros examinamos si el soporte social, mecanismos adaptados, y/o la identidad central del VIH actúan como recursos adaptados neutralizando a las personas de impactos negativos y/o anticipando el stress causado por el estigma y el aumento de los síntomas del VIH. Noventa y tres PLHW completaron las encuestas y los resultados fueron examinados para evidencia de mediación y moderación. Los resultados demostraron que el soporte social, el soporte de la comunidad e individualidad central son instrumentales para neutralizar a los participantes de la asociación entre el estigma anticipado y los síntomas del VIH. Esto quiere decir que el estigma anticipado estaba asociado con síntomas del VIH a través del stress solamente en niveles más bajos de estos recursos. Ninguno de los recursos neutralizan a los participantes del impacto de los estigmas establecidos. Es crítico el poder identificar e intensificar los recursos establecidos entre PLWH para protección de PLWH de los efectos dañinos del estigma.



The project described (P30MH062294) as well as Dr. Earnshaw’s efforts (T32MH020031) were supported by awards from the National Institute of Mental Health. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the Center for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDS or the National Institutes of Health. We are grateful to the Community Research Core at the Center for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDS for their feedback on this work, our collaborators for facilitating data collection, Mildred Fernandez for translating our abstract to Spanish, and the participants of this study for sharing their experiences with us.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Valerie A. Earnshaw
    • 1
  • Shawn M. Lang
    • 1
    • 2
  • Margaret Lippitt
    • 1
  • Harry Jin
    • 1
  • Stephenie R. Chaudoir
    • 3
  1. 1.Center for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDSNew HavenUSA
  2. 2.AIDS ConnecticutHartfordUSA
  3. 3.College of the Holy CrossWorcesterUSA

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