What Works in Coping With HIV? A Meta-Analysis With Implications for Coping With Serious Illness

Judith Tedlie Moskowitz*, Jen R. Hult, Cori Bussolari, Michael Acree

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

189 Scopus citations


Knowledge of effective ways of coping with HIV is critical to help individuals with HIV maintain the best possible psychological and physical well-being. The purpose of the present article is to determine, through meta-analysis, the strength of the evidence regarding 2 questions: (a) Which types of coping are related to psychological and physical well-being among people with HIV? and (b) Do contextual (pre-post introduction of highly active antiretroviral therapies [HAART]; time since diagnosis), measurement (HIV-related event vs. generic prompts for coping measurement), or individual (gender) variables affect the extent to which coping is related to physical and psychological well-being? The authors' analysis demonstrates that Direct Action and Positive Reappraisal were consistently associated with better outcomes in people coping with HIV across affective, health behavior, and physical health categories. In contrast, disengagement forms of coping, such as Behavioral Disengagement and Use of Alcohol or Drugs to Cope, were consistently associated with poorer outcomes. The findings also indicate that in some cases, coping effectiveness was dependent on contextual factors, including time since diagnosis and the advent of HAART.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)121-141
Number of pages21
JournalPsychological bulletin
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2009


  • coping
  • health behaviors
  • negative affect
  • physical health
  • positive affect

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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