Dysfunctional attitudes, coping, and depression among HIV-seropositive men who have sex with men

Frank J. Penedo, Michael H. Antoni, Neil Schneiderman, Gail H. Ironson, Robert M. Malow, Stacy Cruess, Barry Hurwitz, Arthur Laperriere

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Several studies have documented elevated levels of psychological distress among HIV-seropositive (HIV+) symptomatic men who have sex with men (MSM). However, very little is known about the role of dysfunctional attitudes and coping strategies in maintaining and ameliorating distress levels in ways that can inform those developing psychosocial interventions for HIV+ persons. This study evaluated relations between dysfunctional attitudes and depression and examined the role of coping as a mediator of this relationship among 115 HIV+ symptomatic MSM. Higher Dysfunctional Attitude Scale scores were associated with more reported depressive symptoms. The use of adaptive coping strategies such as active coping was associated with lower depression, whereas use of maladaptive strategies such as denial was related to higher levels of depression. Both adaptive and maladaptive coping strategies mediated the relationship between dysfunctional attitudes and depression. Findings suggest that interventions aiming at reducing psychological distress in this population using cognitive restructuring and related techniques may achieve their effects by enhancing adaptive coping strategies on the one hand and reducing maladaptive strategies on the other.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)591-606
Number of pages16
JournalCognitive Therapy and Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2001


  • HIV
  • coping
  • depression
  • dysfunctional attitudes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology


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