Current depressive mood, health perception and HIV sexual risk behavior in the mentally ill
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Background and Purpose: The mentally ill population is more susceptible to HIV infections possibly due to impaired mental status resulting in poor insight and judgment in HIV sexual risk behavior. Specifically, depressed mood has been associated with negative effects on health risk perception, as well as increased health risk behavior. Understanding of the decision making process and HIV risk behavior in people with mental illness can help healthcare providers better adjust prevention strategies to address the specific needs of each client. Methods: As part of a main study which aims to prevent HIV in the mentally ill population, this thesis utilized descriptive baseline data collected during the initial stages of the larger study. The first 75 HIV non-positive participants included in the main study were interviewed extensively with regard to their mood, mental status, and risk behaviors. Specifically, the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV (SCID) was used to record current depressed mood, the demographics questionnaire to determine perception of general health and HIV risk, and the Timeline Follow Back (TLFB) method to collect HIV sexual risk behavior activity in the previous 3 months. Results: We found a significant relationship (p = .034) between current depressed mood and poorer general health perception, no relationship (p = .768) between current depressed mood and HIV risk perception, and a trend (0.2 > p = .158) between current depressed mood and HIV sexual risk behavior. Conclusion: Results in this study support the postulation that depressed mood can negatively affect health perception in general. However, it does not support the prediction that depressed mood is associated with perceived HIV specific risk. There is also a trend suggesting that future research should explore the relationship between depressed mood and sexual risk behavior.
Thesis (M.A.)--Boston University
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