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Dissertation

Relations between Optimism, Social Support, CD4 Counts, Psychological Adjustment to Illness, and Overall Satsifaction with Life for Women Living with HIV

6 December 2006

Abstract

In the United States, it is estimated that women constituted 27% of individuals that received a diagnosis of HI VIA IDS in the year 2003 (CDC). African American and Latina women are the highest at risk groups. Although they represent 25% of women in the United States, they account for 83% of the AIDS diagnosis reported ll12003 (CDC). Limited research has been conducted that assesses specific elements of positive psychology in the lives of women living with HlV, as well as sources of resiliency in this population. TIus study assessed 64 women living with HIV and the relationships with optimism, social support, CD4 counts, psychological adjustment and life satisfaction. On the measures of the Life Orientation Test -Revised (LOT -R) (Scheier, Carver & Bridges, 1994), Medical Outcomes Study (MOS) Social Support Survey (Sherbourne & Stewart, 1991), the Outcome QuestiOlU1aire (OQ-45.2; Lambert et a1., 1996), and the Satisfaction with Life Scale (SWLS;Diener, Emmons, Larsen and Griffen, 1985), results indicated that women living with HlV who were more optimistic reported receiving more social support, had lower rates of psychological distress, and endorsed higher satisfaction with life. Further, women that endorsed higher levels of social support also had lower rates of distress, were more optimistic, and had a higher satisfaction with life. Results did not indicate that CD4 counts related to any of the measures, and there were no differences noted with women of minority status.


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