Psychological well-being and coping in the partners of gay men with HIV-related disease

Gray, James (1996). Psychological well-being and coping in the partners of gay men with HIV-related disease. PhD thesis The Open University.



This study explored psychological distress and well-being in the (HIV negative) partners of gay men with HIV infection and related illness. The role of coping as a moderating variable was investigated. Other moderating variables known to influence level of distress for carers (such as social support, quality of the relationship and life events) were also examined.

35 partners made up the final sample. Clinically significant levels of distress were found. Several coping strategies were significantly (p<.05) correlated with psychological distress and well-being. These strategies were: acceptance, behavioural disengagement, mental disengagement, focusing on emotions, and suppression of competing activities. Regression analysis showed that significant amounts of the variance in psychological distress were explained by some of these strategies. Other factors that were also important predictors in the regression equations included: the overall! health of the patients, the satisfaction with social support, other stressful life events, and previous experience of HIV related bereavement. Clinical implications, methodological issues and avenues for future research are discussed.

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