Project Details


There is increasing evidence that psychosocial processes influence
the immune system and these effects may contribute to the onset
and course of disease. The natural history of the human
immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection is not well known and
understanding the effects of psychosocial factors on immunity
may be critically important in relation to the current AIDS
epidemic. The co-occurrence of psychological states that
compromise the immune system and behaviors associated with
HIV transmission may substantially exacerbate susceptibility to
and progression of AIDS. This is of particular concern in high-risk
populations and research is urgently needed to understand factors
that may contribute to the spread of AIDS in inner city
adolescents and young adults.

The overall goal of this research is to increase our understanding
of psychological and behavioral factors that may contribute to
AIDS-risk in inner city adolescents by: 1. investigating
interactions between psychosocial and immune processes in a
population at risk for AIDS and 2. concurrently assessing the
extent of high risk behaviors for HIV transmission in the same
sample. To obtain a wide spectrum of study subjects with varying
rates of life stress and distress and of high-risk behavior, several
adolescent populations across a range of ages will be sampled:
juvenile offenders, adolescents attending Newark public schools,
and adolescents attending a community based health care center.
An anonymous HIV screening of a separate sample of inner city
adolescents will also be obtained to determine if base rates are
sufficiently high to require the investigation of HIV status as an
interacting variable. Little is known concerning psychosocial
processes and immunity in inner city adolescents and the research
methodology will be guided by psychoimmunologic findings by the
applicants and others. 420 adolescents will be interviewed
concerning life stress and affective disturbance, screening
physical examinations will be obtained, and blood drawn for
immunologic assessment. High risk behaviors for HIV
transmission including drug use and risky sexual behaviors will be
assessed. All subjects will be restudied at 6 month intervals for 2
years to investigate prospectively the durational aspects of the
psychoimmunologic effects as well as change over time in high
risk behaviors.
Effective start/end date1/1/907/31/92


  • National Institute of Mental Health
  • National Institute of Mental Health
  • National Institute of Mental Health


  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Infectious Diseases


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