Written emotional disclosure and processing of trauma are associated with protected health status and immunity in people living with HIV/AIDS
Version of Record online: 24 DEC 2010
2008 The British Psychological Society
British Journal of Health Psychology
Volume 13, Issue 1, pages 81–84, February 2008
How to Cite
O'Cleirigh, C., Ironson, G., Fletcher, M. A. and Schneiderman, N. (2008), Written emotional disclosure and processing of trauma are associated with protected health status and immunity in people living with HIV/AIDS. British Journal of Health Psychology, 13: 81–84. doi: 10.1348/135910707X250884
- Issue online: 24 DEC 2010
- Version of Record online: 24 DEC 2010
- Received 15 July 2007; revised version received 30 September 2007
Objective. This study compared written emotional disclosure and processing of trauma among a relatively rare group of people with AIDS with atypically favourable disease status with an HIV+ comparison group. The study also examined the mediational role of emotional/cognitive processing and natural killer (NK) cells.
Design. This study utilized a cross-sectional group comparison design.
Method. Two HIV+ groups, the Healthy Survivors (N = 37;>9-months with <50 CD4 cells/mm3 and asymptomatic), and an HIV+ comparison groups (N = 100) wrote essays describing their reactions to past traumas; these were scored for emotional disclosure/processing.
Results. Healthy survivors had higher levels of emotional disclosure and emotional/cognitive processing than the comparison group. Emotional/cognitive processing mediated the relationship between emotional disclosure and group membership. NK cell number mediated the relationship between emotional/cognitive processing and ‘healthy survival’.
Conclusions. The results suggest that higher levels of emotional disclosure and processing of trauma may confer health and immunological benefits to people living with HIV/AIDS.