Assessing implicit cognition among patients lost to follow-up for HIV care: A preliminary study

Eric Houston*, Thomas Lyons, Brenda Wolfe, Norma Rolfsen, Maryanne Williams, Monique Rucker, Nancy Glick

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Objective: While a growing body of research indicates that implicit cognitive processes play an important role in a range of health behaviors, the assessment of these impulsive, associative mental processes among patients living with HIV has received little attention. This preliminary study explored how multidimensional scaling (MDS) could be used to assess implicit cognitive processes among patients lost to follow-up for HIV care and develop interventions to improve their engagement. Method: The sample consisted of 33 patients who were identified as lost to follow up for HIV care at two urban hospitals. Participants were randomly assigned to either the MDS assessment program or control group. All participants underwent measures designed to gauge behavioral change intentions and treatment motivation. Assessment group participants were interviewed to determine their reactions to the assessment program. Results: The MDS assessment program identified cognitive processes and their relationship to treatment-related behaviors among assessment group participants. Assessment group participants reported significantly greater behavior change intentions than those in the control group (p =.02; Cohen’s d = 0.84). Conclusion: MDS shows promise as a tool to identify implicit cognitive processes related to treatment-related behaviors. Assessments based on MDS could serve as the basis for patient-centered clinical interventions designed to improve treatment adherence and HIV care engagement in general.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)83-92
Number of pages10
JournalOpen AIDS Journal
StatePublished - May 1 2016


  • Antiretroviral adherence
  • Health behavior change
  • Health disparities
  • Implicit cognition
  • Motivation
  • Patient retention
  • Web-based technology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Virology


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