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Development of the HIV/AIDS Stress Scale

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Development of a self-report measure of stress specific to HIV/AIDS is needed to advance our understanding of the role of stress in adaptation to HIV/AIDS; hence, the aim of this study was the development of the HIV/AIDS Stress Scale. A total of 132 homosexual/bisexual men with HIV/AIDS were interviewed and completed the HIV/AIDS Stress Scale and measures of coping strategies, appraisal, social support and adjustment (global distress, depression, social adjustment, number of HIV symptoms, and subjective health status) at three time points. Thirty-nine primary caregivers were interviewed and completed measures of stress and adjustment. Exploratory factor analyses of the HIV/AIDS Stress Scale items revealed three factors: Social, Instrumental and Emotional/Existential Stress. Factors had adequate internal reliabilities and were stable over 12 months. Construct validation data are consistent with recent stress/coping research that links higher levels of stress with more HIV symptoms, reliance on emotion-focused coping, lower social support, poorer levels of adjustment and higher levels of caregiver stress. Results extend this research by revealing new differential relations between various stress dimensions and stress/coping variables. Convergent validation data suggest that the HIV/AIDS Stress Scale shares conceptual similarity with threat appraisal, and differs from controllability and challenge appraisals. The HIV/AIDS Stress Scale shows potential for the elucidation of the role of stress in coping and adaptation to HIV/AIDS and disease progression in both research and clinical applications.
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Keywords: Appraisal; HIV/AIDS Stress Scale; Social support

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: School of Psychology, The University of Queensland, Australia

Publication date: January 1, 2002

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