The purpose of this project is to determine the mental health and behavioral effects of the epidemic of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) on a group of homosexual males (N=700) who do not have AIDS but who are at risk of contracting the disease. The sample will be drawn from diverse channels within the New York community. Data will be collected at two time points, one year apart, through face-to-face interview. The method proposed includes both retrospective and prospective components. The effects of the AIDS epidemic will be assessed using three sets of outcome measures: specific and non-specific psychological distress, drug use, and sexual behavior. Features of the epidemic expected to have an impact on the three areas of functioning are: death and illness in the social network due to AIDS, and subjective threat of contracting AIDS. Social network support and selected personal dispositions are assessed in order to estimate their direct effects on functioning as well as their mediation of the relationship between AIDS-related stressors and functioning. The research utilizes the framework of life stress and illness within which to study these effects, and includes both pathological/undesirable outcomes as well as adaptive outcomes within its scope. Many of the instruments to be used in this study have been adapted from other psychiatric epidemiologic field studies. Other instruments, notably those measuring sexual behavior and drug use, have been newly developed here, thereby addressing a serious methodological problem confronted by many AIDS researchers. Causal modeling will provide information on: (1) the duration of reactions to AIDS-related stressors, (2) the extent to which individuals habituate to newly arising AIDS-related stressors, and (3) the processes by which AIDS-related stressors are coped with. This research contributes to understanding the stress-adaptation process, and it also has implications for understanding the etiology of AIDS.

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National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
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Columbia University (N.Y.)
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New York
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Mustafa, T; Sy, F S; Macera, C A et al. (1999) Association between exercise and HIV disease progression in a cohort of homosexual men. Ann Epidemiol 9:127-31
Morris, M; Zavisca, J; Dean, L (1995) Social and sexual networks: their role in the spread of HIV/AIDS among young gay men. AIDS Educ Prev 7:24-35
Meyer, I H (1995) Minority stress and mental health in gay men. J Health Soc Behav 36:38-56
Dean, L; Meyer, I (1995) HIV prevalence and sexual behavior in a cohort of New York City gay men (aged 18-24). J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr Hum Retrovirol 8:208-11
Kemeny, M E; Dean, L (1995) Effects of AIDS-related bereavement on HIV progression among New York City gay men. AIDS Educ Prev 7:36-47
Meyer, I H; Dean, L (1995) Patterns of sexual behavior and risk taking among young New York City gay men. AIDS Educ Prev 7:13-23
Morris, M; Dean, L (1994) Effect of sexual behavior change on long-term human immunodeficiency virus prevalence among homosexual men. Am J Epidemiol 140:217-32
Martin, J L; Dean, L (1993) Effects of AIDS-related bereavement and HIV-related illness on psychological distress among gay men: a 7-year longitudinal study, 1985-1991. J Consult Clin Psychol 61:94-103
Thompson, J L; Yager, T J; Martin, J L (1993) Estimated condom failure and frequency of condom use among gay men. Am J Public Health 83:1409-13
Lennon, M C; Martin, J L; Dean, L (1990) The influence of social support on AIDS-related grief reaction among gay men. Soc Sci Med 31:477-84

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