n African Journal of Psychiatry - Psychopathology, fundamental assumptions and CD-4 T lymphocyte counts in HIV-positive patients : original article




We investigated whether psychopathology in HIV-positive patients was associated with more negative fundamental assumptions than in healthy controls. In addition, we explored whether psychopathology and negative fundamental assumptions in HIV-positive patients were associated with lower CD4 T-lymphocyte counts. Self-rating questionnaires to assess depressive symptoms, posttraumatic stress symptoms, alcohol abuse, general psychopathology and fundamental assumptions, were completed by 123 HIV-positive patients and 84 uninfected clinic attendees at three primary health care clinics in the Western Cape, South Africa. CD4 T-lymphocyte counts were obtained from chart records. HIV-positive patients reported more depressive and posttraumatic symptoms than uninfected individuals. However when controlling for socio-economic status, the number of traumatic events experienced and other potential confounds, no differences remained. Fundamental assumptions (FA) were mainly positive in both HIV-positive patients and controls and no correlations were found between fundamental assumptions, psychiatric symptoms and CD4 levels. However, in infected patients FA and psychopathology were negatively associated with all participants scoring in the positive range of the FA scale. The positive scores on the FA scale indicate that positive assumptions are related to less psychopathology. Longitudinal studies investigating the association between the valence of fundamental assumptions and HIV morbidity are needed.


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