Date of Award

1-1-2009

Document Type

Campus Access Dissertation

Department

Psychology

Sub-Department

Clinical-Community Psychology

First Advisor

Herman C. Salzburg

Abstract

The literature is replete with articles about coping styles and adjustment to various illnesses, but relatively few address the health-promoting behaviors of HIV-positive individuals. This study examines various factors related to a health-promoting lifestyle, their relationship to one another, and changes made by patients following diagnosis to improve health. Given that many HIV patients have alcohol/drug use histories, this research project also explores differences between substance-abusing HIV patients and non-substance abusers with respect to health-promoting behaviors. Pearson-product moment correlations indicated that greater health self-efficacy (i.e., Responsible Health Practices) (r=.753), a task-oriented coping style (r=.364), and a positive mental attitude (i.e., Fighting Spirit) (r=.263) were significant predictors of a health-promoting lifestyle. Substance abusers were as likely as non-substance abusers to report a health-promoting lifestyle. They also scored higher on an overall coping style measure (M=3.56 vs. 3.36). Further research to investigate health-promoting behaviors among HIV clients is warranted, as well as exploring under what circumstances avoidance-oriented coping may be as effective as task-oriented coping in adjustment to illness.

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