Personal and Psychosocial Characteristics Associated with Psychiatric Conditions Among Women with Human Immunodeficiency Virus

Published in: Women's Health Issues v. 13, no. 3, May/June 2003, p. 104-110

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2003

by Cathy D. Sherbourne, Nell Griffith Forge, Fuan-Yue Kung, Maria Orlando Edelen, Joan S. Tucker

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This study presents information on correlates of mental health and substance abuse problems among women with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), a particularly vulnerable, poor and minority population. Data are from 847 women in the HIV Cost and Services Utilization Study, a national probability sample of adults with known human immunodeficiency virus infection. Fifty-five percent of women manifested a probably psychiatric condition. Results indicated that increased risk for psychiatric conditions among these women was associated with younger age, having acquired immunodeficiency virus (rather than asymptomatic), using avoidant coping strategies, reporting increased conflicts with others, and prior physical abuse, needing income assistance, and putting off going to the doctor because of caring for someone else. Findings suggest we need to address women's need for safety from assaultive partners and that we may need special programs for women burdened with having to care for others.

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