Sense of Coherence in Minority Women at Risk for HIV Infection


  • Adeline M. Nyamathi Ph.D., FAAN

    1. Adeline M. Nyamathi is Associate Professor, School of Nursing, University of California, Los Angeles, 10833 Le Conte Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90024-6918.
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Abstract It is theorized that persons with strong sense of coherence are likely to define an event as less stressful and be able to manage a problem more successfully than those with weak sense of coherence. The study investigated the relationship among coherence and personal and environmental concerns, appraisal of threat, emotional distress, and high-risk behaviors in minority women at risk for human immunodeficiency (HIV) infection. As predicted, a significant negative relationship was seen between level of coherence and concerns. Moreover, women strong in coherence reported less negative appraisals of threat, less emotional distress, and fewer high-risk behaviors than those with weak coherence. Results of tests of a path model investigating the impact of coherence and appraisal on distress and risk revealed coherence to be significantly and negatively associated with appraisal, distress, and risk, both directly and indirectly through its association with appraisal. The path model accounted for 45% of the variance in distress, 10% of the variance in appraisal, and 4% of risk behavior. Continuing investigation of factors such as coherence that can lessen the seriousness of environmental stressors is imperative as it relates to women at risk for HIV infection.