A transactional approach to relationships over time between perceived HIV stigma and the psychological and physical well-being of people with HIV

Carol T. Miller, Sondra E. Solomon, Susan E. Varni, James J. Hodge, F. Andrew Knapp, Janice Y. Bunn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations

Abstract

Rationale Cross-sectional studies demonstrate that perceived discrimination is related to the psychological and physical well-being of stigmatized people. The theoretical and empirical foci of most of this research in on how racial discrimination undermines well-being. The present study takes a transactional approach to examine people with HIV, a potentially concealable stigma. Hypothesis The transactional approach posits that even as discrimination adversely affects the psychological well-being of people with HIV, psychological distress also makes them more sensitive to perceiving that they may be or have been stigmatized, and may increase the chances that other people actually do stigmatize them. Methods This hypothesis was tested in a longitudinal study in which 216 New England residents with HIV were recruited to complete measures of perceived HIV stigma and well-being across three time points, approximately 90 days apart. This study also expanded on past research by assessing anticipated and internalized stigma as well as perceived discrimination. Results Results indicated that all of these aspects of HIV stigma prospectively predicted psychological distress, thriving, and physical well-being. Equally important, psychological distress and thriving also prospectively predicted all three aspects of HIV stigma, but physical well-being did not. Conclusion These findings suggest that people with HIV are ensnared in a cycle in which experiences of stigma and reduced psychological well-being mutually reinforce each other.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)97-105
Number of pages9
JournalSocial Science and Medicine
Volume162
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • History and Philosophy of Science

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