A chronic illness, such as HIV infection, typically creates large amounts of uncertainty for patients (e.g., ambiguity of symptoms, unpredictability of disease progression, lack of information about treatments). The proposed project is designed to test a model of patient uncertainty as well as to determine how HIV/AIDS patients engage in coping and psychosocial adaptation through communication behaviors.
The specific aims are (1) to determine the sources of uncertainty and information used by persons with HIV or AIDS, (2) to identify the role of """"""""stage of illness"""""""" in determining the sources of uncertainty and information seeking preferences among persons living with HIV or AIDS, (3) to determine the effectiveness and durability of an educational intervention designed to facilitate uncertainty management, and (4) to assess covarying influences on uncertainty management, such as uncertainty appraisal, disease progression, socioeconomic status, and demographics. In Study I, focus group interviews will be used to assess sources of uncertainty, sources of information, preferences for information, barriers to information seeking, and strategies for coping with uncertainty, and the influence of stage of illness on assessments of uncertainty. Study II is an intervention with a pretest-posttest control group design with two levels of treatment (educational intervention vs. no educational intervention). Measures will be taken at baseline, and at 3, 6, and 9 months past baseline. The intervention will run for eight sessions (one and one-half hours each) and is designed to facilitate uncertainty management through (a) constructing normative frameworks by providing basic illness and treatment information and (b) promoting adaptive coping through information-seeking skills training.
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