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Emotional support and gender in people living with HIV: effects on psychological well-being

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Abstract

Current research indicates that emotional support is strongly associated with physical and psychological adjustment in persons living with HIV/AIDS. While gender-differences in health and health behaviors of HIV positive patients are well studied, less is known about how men and women living with HIV/AIDS may differentially perceive and integrate support into their lives, and how it subsequently affects their psychological well-being. This cross-sectional study examines how emotional support received from partners and family/friends and gender explains psychological well-being (i.e., stress, depression, anxiety) in a sample of 409 partnered European HIV positive individuals. We hypothesized that gender would modify the associations between support and psychological well-being such that men would benefit more from partner support whereas women would benefit more from family/friend support. Results revealed that regardless of the source of support, men’s well-being was more positively influenced by support than was women’s well-being. Women’s difficulties in receiving emotional support may have deleterious effects on their psychological well-being.

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Acknowledgments

The authors are grateful to all participants for contributing to this study. The investigators of the participating centres were (authors not included): Gloriana Bartoli and Carlo Giaquinto (University of Padua, Italy), Johannes Bogner (Ludwig Maximilians University, Germany), Ruth Borms (Sensoa, Belgium), Robert Colebunders (Institute of Tropical Medicine, Belgium), Peter Csépe (Semmelweis University, Hungary), Nikos Dedes (Synthesis, Greece), Caterina Uberti-Foppa and Giulia Galotta (HSR Ospedale, Italy), Birgit Mumelter (University of Innsbruck, Austria), Ivo Prochazka (University of Prague, Czech Republic), Gabriele Schmied (European Centre, Austria), Danica Stanekova (University of Bratislava, Slovak Republic), Ed Wilkins and Cinthia Murphy (Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, United Kingdom), Anda Vaisla (Latvian Family Planning Association, Latvia), Michal Pozdal and Zbigniew Izdebski (University of Zielona Góra, Poland). This study received funding from the European Commission, SANCO/Public Health, Grant Agreement nr. 2004314. The Commission is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information contained herein.

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Correspondence to Victoria Gordillo.

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Gordillo, V., Fekete, E.M., Platteau, T. et al. Emotional support and gender in people living with HIV: effects on psychological well-being. J Behav Med 32, 523–531 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10865-009-9222-7

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10865-009-9222-7

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