AIDS and Behavior

, Volume 7, Issue 2, pp 119–129 | Cite as

Close Relationships and Social Support in Coping with HIV: A Test of Sensitive Interaction Systems Theory

  • Valerian J. Derlega
  • Barbara A. Winstead
  • Edward C. OldfieldIII
  • Anita P. Barbee


This study tested sensitive interaction systems theory, and examined how persons with HIV seek and receive social support in relationships with peers versus parents and the association between different kinds of support-receiving behaviors and depressive symptoms. The participants were men and women with HIV in southeastern Virginia who completed a self-administered questionnaire about their relations with parents, an intimate partner, and a close friend. Participants reported using more Ask behaviors (a direct form of support seeking) with a friend and an intimate partner than with parents. They also reported receiving more Approach (Solve/Solace) forms of support from a friend and an intimate partner than from parents and less Avoidance (Escape/Dismiss) from a close friend than from parents. As a support-seeking behavior Ask was most likely to be associated with Approach forms of support providing from all types of relationship partners. Avoidance from parents, an intimate partner, or a friend was positively associated with depressive symptoms. Counselors should discuss with clients the social support process and how different forms of support seeking and support providing may be more or less useful in coping with HIV.

Close relationships social support coping with HIV sensitive interaction systems theory depressive symptoms 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Valerian J. Derlega
    • 1
  • Barbara A. Winstead
    • 1
  • Edward C. OldfieldIII
    • 2
  • Anita P. Barbee
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyOld Dominion UniversityNorfolk
  2. 2.Division of Infectious Disease, C3ID, Department of Internal MedicineEastern Virginia Medical SchoolNorfolk
  3. 3.Kent School of Social WorkUniversity of LouisvilleLouisville

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