Stability and Change in Psychosocial Resources during Caregiving and Bereavement in Partners of Men with AIDS


  • This study was supported by NIMH Training Grant MH19391 to the first author and by NIMH Grants MH44045 and MH49985 to the second author. We would like to thank Alan Bostrom for his assistance with the data analysis and Judy Tedlie Moskowitz, Cynthia Rosengard, Howard Tennen, and three anonymous reviewers for their comments on an earlier version of this manuscript. We are indebted to the men who participated in this study.

concerning this article should be addressed to Crystal L. Park, who is now at the Department of Psychology, Miami University, Oxford, OH 45056. E-mail:


ABSTRACT This study examines the effects of caregiving and bereavement on psychosocial resources in HIV + and HIV− caregivers of men with AIDS. We explored three hypotheses regarding these effects: the “wear and tear” hypothesis, which asserts that the chronic stress of caregiving and bereavement diminishes resources; the “enhancement” hypothesis, which asserts that caregiver resources may increase in response to increased demands; and the “personality” hypothesis, which asserts that psychosocial resources reflect stable personality characteristics. We addressed four questions: (a) What are the effects of caregiving on resources? (b) How do these resources vary by the imminence of the partner's death? (c) What is the effect of the partner's death on these resources? and (d) How does the caregivers' HIV serostatus influence the effects of caregiving and bereavement on resources? Support for the personality hypothesis predominated, with some support for the wear and tear hypothesis, depending on the resource in question. In general, HIV seropositivity did not put people at additional risk for resource depletion.