AIDS and Behavior

, Volume 20, Issue 8, pp 1609–1620 | Cite as

Anxiety and Depressive Symptoms Among People Living with HIV and Childhood Sexual Abuse: The Role of Shame and Posttraumatic Growth

  • Tiara C. Willie
  • Nicole M. Overstreet
  • Courtney Peasant
  • Trace Kershaw
  • Kathleen J. Sikkema
  • Nathan B. Hansen
Original Paper


There is a critical need to examine protective and risk factors of anxiety and depressive symptoms among people living with HIV in order to improve quality of life. Structural equation modeling was used to examine the associations between HIV-related shame, sexual abuse-related shame, posttraumatic growth, and anxiety and depressive symptoms among a cohort of 225 heterosexual women and men who have sex with men (MSM) living with HIV who have experienced childhood sexual abuse (CSA). Higher sexual abuse-related shame was related to more anxiety and depressive symptoms for heterosexual women. Higher posttraumatic growth predicted less anxiety symptoms for only heterosexual women. Higher posttraumatic growth predicted less depressive symptoms for heterosexual women and MSM, but the magnitude of this effect was stronger for heterosexual women than MSM. Psychosocial interventions may need to be tailored to meet the specific needs of heterosexual women and MSM living with HIV and CSA.


Childhood sexual abuse Anxiety and depression Shame Posttraumatic growth HIV 



The research was supported by Grants from the National Institute of Mental Health (R01MH062965 and T32MH020031).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tiara C. Willie
    • 1
    • 2
  • Nicole M. Overstreet
    • 3
  • Courtney Peasant
    • 1
  • Trace Kershaw
    • 1
    • 2
  • Kathleen J. Sikkema
    • 4
  • Nathan B. Hansen
    • 5
  1. 1.Center for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDSYale UniversityNew HavenUSA
  2. 2.Division of Social and Behavioral SciencesYale School of Public HealthNew HavenUSA
  3. 3.Department of Social PsychologyClark UniversityWorcesterUSA
  4. 4.Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, and Duke Global InstituteDuke UniversityDurhamUSA
  5. 5.Department of Health Promotion and BehaviorUniversity of GeorgiaAthensUSA

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