2013 issue 3


Volume 22, issue 3

Original article

Illness perceptions and psychosocial benefits found among HIV positive and AIDS patients

Marlena Maria Kossakowska1, Paweł Zielazny2
1. Szkoła Wyższa Psychologii Społecznej, Wydział Zamiejscowy w Sopocie
2. Departament Zdrowia, Urząd Marszałkowski Województwa Pomorskiego, Gdańsk
Postępy Psychiatrii i Neurologii 2013; 22(3): 177-185
Keywords: coping, illness perceptions, HIV, AIDS, psychosocial benefit


Objectives. The aim of this study was to examine subjective illness perceptions, coping strategies and psychosocial benefi ts from illness found in patients with HIV and AIDS.
Methods. The research sample consisted of 60 patients with HIV/AIDS (30 with HIV and 30 with AIDS). The following questionnaires were used in the study: the Brief Illness Perception Questionnaire (BIPQ), the Coping Orientations to Problems Experienced (COPE) and the Silver Lining Questionnaire (SL-24). Patients were asked to provide demographic information such as sex, age and education.
Results. The study showed signifi cant differences in subjective illness perceptions and implementation of coping strategies between HIV-infected individuals and those suffering from AIDS. AIDS patients had less favorable illness perceptions, compared to the patients infected with HIV. Furthermore, individuals with AIDS were more likely to seek emotional support from other people compared to those with HIV. The former group was also found to be more focused on their emotional states. The study also revealed the tendency to recognize the value of interpersonal relationships and personal strengths among all the participants. These are the most important psychosocial benefits from chronic illness for them.
Conclusions. Individuals infected with HIV appear to have more positive illness perceptions and coping strategies than those living with AIDS. However, both research groups declare psychosocial benefi ts from their illness at the same level.

Address for correspondence:
Dr Marlena Maria Kossakowska
Szkoła Wyższa Psychologii Społecznej, Wydział Zamiejscowy w Sopocie
ul. Polna 16-20, 81-745 Sopot
e-mail: marlena.kossakowska@wp.pl