Skip to main content

Being Yourself and Mental Health: Goal Motives, Positive Affect and Self-Acceptance Protect People with HIV from Depressive Symptoms


Depression is a major problem for many people living with HIV. In general population-based studies, it was found that characteristics of personal goals, positive affect, and self-acceptance were associated negatively with depression, but almost no studies have investigated their role in HIV infection-related depression. This study examines a prospective model where autonomy and perceived progress in personal goals are positively associated with self-acceptance and positive affect, and these variables, over time, are negatively associated with depressive symptoms. Participants (N = 70) responded first to measures of autonomy, progress in personal goals, perceptions of self-acceptance, and positive affect, and 4 months later, they completed measures of depression. Personal goals variables were observed to be differentially associated with well-being variables: whereas personal goals autonomy was directly associated with both well-being variables, progress in personal goals was directly associated with positive affect and indirectly with self-acceptance, through its association with positive affect. Longitudinally, both self-acceptance and positive affect were associated with depression, the former directly, and the latter indirectly, through its association with self-acceptance. Self-acceptance is revealed as an important predictor of depression in PLWH. Results are discussed in terms of the contributions of hedonic and eudaimonic well-being to the relief of depressive symptoms.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2


Download references


The authors acknowledge the assistance received by Professor Joaquín Aldas-Manzano in methodological aspects of this paper.


Funding was provided by Fundación para la Investigación y la Prevención del Sida en España (Grant No. 18754/08).

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Eneko Sansinenea.

Additional information

Publisher's Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Sansinenea, E., Asla, N., Agirrezabal, A. et al. Being Yourself and Mental Health: Goal Motives, Positive Affect and Self-Acceptance Protect People with HIV from Depressive Symptoms. J Happiness Stud 21, 593–612 (2020).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:


  • Personal goals
  • Positive affect
  • Self-acceptance
  • Depression
  • HIV/aids