This study examined social support and maladaptive coping as predictors of HIV-related health symptoms. Sixty-five men and women living with HIV/AIDS completed baseline measures assessing coping strategies, social support, and HIV-related health symptoms. The sample was primarily low-income and diverse with respect to gender, ethnicity, and sexual orientation. Three, 6, and 12 months after completing baseline assessments, physical health symptoms associated with HIV disease were assessed. After controlling for demographic characteristics, CD4 T-cell count, and baseline HIV-related health symptoms, individuals reporting lower increase in HIV-related health symptoms used less venting (expressing emotional distress) as a strategy for coping with HIV. However, when satisfaction with social support was added to the model, the use of this coping strategy was no longer significant, and individuals reporting more satisfying social support were more likely to report lower increase in their HIV-related health symptoms, suggesting that social support is a robust predictor of health outcomes over time independent of coping style and baseline medical status. These findings provide further evidence that social support can buffer deleterious health outcomes among individuals with a chronic illness. Future research needs to examine mediating pathways that can explain this relationship.
View details for Web of Science ID 000232058300006
View details for PubMedID 16164385