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n African Journal of Psychiatry - Social support and the psychological wellbeing of people living with HIV/AIDS in Ghana : original
Objective : The current study sought to investigate the association between age, gender, social support and the psychological wellbeing of people living with HIV and AIDS (PLHA) in Ghana.
Method : Cross-sectional data containing information on demographics, social support and psychological well-being (stress, depression, and anxiety), were collected from 107 men and women living with HIV/AIDS. To explore age group differences, participants were stratified by age (< 39 vs. 40+ years). Three anonymous self-administered questionnaires were used, namely the demographic data questionnaire, Sources of Social Support Scale, and the Depression Anxiety Stress Scale (DASS- 42).
Results : Correlation analysis revealed that social support was negatively associated with depression, stress and anxiety. Compared with males living with HIV, women reported higher levels of stress, depression and anxiety. Female gender and low social support were significant predictors of depression and stress after controlling for selected independent variables. Older participants experienced higher levels of stress than their younger counterparts.
Conclusion : Public health personnel and AIDS professionals may consider further interventions to promote psychological health in HIV/AIDS-positive individuals. More attention should be paid to the social environment of individuals diagnosed with HIV as the quality of social relationships may be particularly important for successful psychological adaptation to HIV.
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