Date of Award:

1986

Document Type:

Dissertation

Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department:

Psychology

Advisor/Chair:

Keith Checketts

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to identify the psychological and social consequences experienced by homosexual men who learn that they have positive results on the HTLV-III antibody test, but who have not yet developed AIDS or ARC. Employing a census survey of the membership of three California homophile organizations (n=1905), 30 HTLV-III positives and 55 negatives completed a biographical questionnaire, the IPAT Anxiety Scale Questionnaire, the IPAT Depression Scale, and the Coping Strategies Inventory. Results indicate that HTLV-III positives show considerable disorganization after hearing test results, have clinically high levels of anxiety (n=10), and clinically high levels of depression (n=14). Positives were also quite guarded about sharing the results of their testing, and experienced negative effects in social (n=15) and occupational functioning (n=10), and reported pervasive changes in their sexual activity (n=30). Twelve subjects reported suicidal ideation after they heard the results of their testing, but only one subject reported a suicide attempt. The methodological imitations of the study were examined, with an emphasis on the limitations of survey method and difficulties with the follow-up procedures. Speculations to account for the reported behaviors, implications for counseling HTLV-III positives, and suggestions for future research with this population were also discussed.

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Included in

Psychology Commons

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