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Coping and burden among informal HIV caregivers.

Engler P, Anderson B, Herman D, Bishop D, Miller I, Pirraglia P, Hayaki J, Stein M. Coping and burden among informal HIV caregivers. Psychosomatic medicine. 2006 Nov 1; 68(6):985-92.

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OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to examine the role of coping on caregiver burden among a heterogeneous group of caregivers of persons living with HIV during the era of highly active antiretroviral therapy. METHODS: Burden and coping were examined among 176 caregivers of persons living with HIV. Three styles of coping were examined using a 7-item scale: active-approach (task), blame-withdrawal (emotion), and distancing (avoidance). RESULTS: A total of 58.8% of the caregivers were women. They had a mean age of 42 years; 61.9% cohabited with the persons living with HIV who had a mean CD4 count of 401. All three styles of coping were significantly positively correlated with caregiver burden. After controlling for demographic variables and caregiver depression, active-approach coping and distancing coping independently moderated the relationship between perceived severity of HIV-related symptoms (stress) and caregiver burden; however, some caregivers experienced burden even at low levels of stress. CONCLUSIONS: These results indicate that in the era of highly active antiretroviral therapy, coping mitigates the effect of stress on burden.

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