The use of coping humor in an HIV/AIDS population
Cohen, Mindy Carol
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This study examined the relationship between coping humor (the use of humor to cope with stress), perceived social support, psychological variables (depression, anxiety, self-esteem, and stress) among a sample of 103 HIV/AIDS patients. In addition, coping humor and physiological markers (viral load and CD4 cells) were examined. The author administered several questionnaires, including: The Coping Humor Scale, which assess the use of humor when faced with a stressful life event; The Beck Depression Inventory, a measure used for assessing depression; The Speilberger State Anxiety Scale, used to measure transient anxiety; The Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale, a global measure of one's self-esteem; Perceived Social Support Scale for Family and Friends; and a negative life events scale used as a gross measure of life stress. The results showed that patients who used more coping humor reported less depression, higher self-esteem and greater perceived social support from friends. The data did not support the hypothesis that the use of coping humor buffered the effects of stress, anxiety, social support from family, or immune functioning. To the extent that a sense of humor psychologically reduces the deleterious impact of an HIV/AIDS diagnosis is to provide initial evidence that this style of coping has potentially positive psychological effects on this sample. Future research can perhaps use these findings to further examine how using coping humor effects medical adherence, further psychological adjustment and overall quality of life for those with an HIV/AIDS diagnosis.
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