Graduation Year


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Stacey Wood

Reader 2

Jennifer Groscup

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Rights Information

© 2013 Melissa Margolis


Despite a rise in the number of studies looking at the relationship of psychosocial factors (coping style, personality type, and social support) on HIV/AIDS severity, there remains a lack of conclusive answers about the specific association between these factors. This study used a meta-analytic method of analysis to address these issues in the post anti-retroviral treatment modality world. A systematic search of major psychology and medical computerized databases led to 110 studies used in the meta-analysis. Social support was found to have the strongest relationship with HIV progression. Structural social support had greater protective effect on HIV progression than functional social support. A significant relationship between coping type and HIV severity was found, with a greater protective benefit seen in studies that utilized CD4 count as the outcome variable. Positive coping had a beneficial effect on HIV progression while passive and negative coping had a detrimental effect on disease progression. Among studies of personality, a weak relationship was found between personality type and HIV severity. In conclusion, the meta-analytical review found significant associations between psychosocial factors and HIV severity that could be used to refine individual treatment plans for people living with HIV/AIDS.