Social relations, coping, and psychological distress among persons with HIV/AIDS

Mark F. Schmitz, Stephen Crystal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Scopus citations


The interrelationships among social support, coping style, and psychological distress were examined using longitudinal data from a sample of 212 persons with HIV/AIDS. Structural equation modeling analyses showed significant indirect effects on psychological distress for avoidant coping, feeling loved and understood, satisfaction with support, rejection by family members, discrimination because of HIV status, and number of AIDS symptoms. The inclusion of negative social interactions in the model is an important extension of the stress-support literature. Feeling loved and understood mediated the relationship between social support and coping style choice. Results highlight the multidimensional nature of the processes that shape psychological outcomes in HIV disease, and suggest several potential points of intervention, including social-support efforts that increase the sense that one matters to others, and interventions to assist patients to move from avoidant to active coping strategies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)665-685
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Applied Social Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2000

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology


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