Posttraumatic Growth Among HIV/AIDS Patients1


  • Joel E. Milam

    Corresponding author
    1. Institute for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Research Department of Preventive Medicine Keck School of Medicine University of Southern California
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    This study was supported by NIMH RO1MH57208, while the author was supported by NCI T32CA09492. Support was also provided by the California Collaborative Treatment Group, funded by the Universitywide AIDS Research Program of the State of California, and by the Centers for Disease Control. The author thanks Jean Richardson, Sue Stoyanoff, Gary Marks, Beth Meyerowitz, Alexandra Levine, Chih-Ping Chou, Luanne Rorhbach, and the Partnership for Health study staff and participants for their help and generosity in this research effort.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Joel Milam, Department of Preventive Medicine, University of Southern California, 1441 Eastlake Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90033-9175. E-mail:


Correlates (n= 835 at Time 1) and predictors (n= 434 at Time 2) of posttraumatic growth (PTG; perceiving positive life changes stemming from diagnosis) over 1.6 years were examined among a diverse sample of HIV/AIDS patients. PTG was common–59% of participants reported to have experienced at least moderate positive changes since diagnosis. At Time 1, PTG had significant negative associations with age, alcohol use, depression, and pessimism; and positive associations with African American ethnicity (vs. White), female gender, eating a healthy diet, and optimism. At Time 2, religiosity was positively associated with PTG. The process of experiencing PTG over time was associated with lower levels of depression over time. Although the underlying process of PTG remains unclear, these results suggest that PTG is worthy of intervention focus.