Annals of Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 35, Issue 1, pp 26–40 | Cite as

Cognitive–Behavioral Stress Management Interventions for Persons Living with HIV: A Review and Critique of the Literature

Original Article



Psychological adjustment and coping are central to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) management. To improve HIV-infected patients’ ability to cope with stress, a variety of stress management interventions have been designed and evaluated.


This paper provides a review and critique of the stress management literature, including a: (1) synthesis of core components of interventions for HIV-infected people, (2) summary of stress, coping, psychological, and health outcomes, and (3) methodological critique and guidance for future research.


We reviewed 21 stress management interventions designed for HIV-infected individuals that included both cognitive and behavioral skills training.


Most studies noted positive changes in perceived stress, depression, anxiety, global psychological functioning, social support, and quality of life. However, results were mixed for coping and health status outcomes, and a majority of studies employed only brief follow-up periods, focused on HIV-infected MSM, and did not address HIV-specific stressors.


Stress management interventions for HIV-infected persons are a promising approach to facilitate positive adjustment. However, this literature is limited by measurement problems, research design features, a narrow focus on HIV-infected men who have sex with men, and feasibility concerns for intervention dissemination. Future stress management interventions should address these limitations and the unique psychosocial needs of HIV-infected patients using briefer, more cost-effective formats.


HIV Cognitive–Behavioral Stress Stress management Coping 



This work was supported in part by NIMH grant R21-MH65865. Jennifer L. Brown is supported by an NRSA award from the National Institute of Mental Health (F31MH081751).


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Copyright information

© The Society of Behavioral Medicine 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Health and Behavior, Department of PsychologySyracuse UniversitySyracuseUSA

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