Psychological flexibility as a moderator of the relationship between HIV-related stigma and resilience among HIV/AIDS patients

Keywords: Cognitive processing; coping strategy; HIV and AIDS; positive adaptation; stigmatisation; trauma


HIV-related stigmatisation is common in many parts of the world and is experienced by all categories of people living with HIV and AIDS (PLWHA). Although the negative consequences of HIV-related stigmatisation on the resilience of PLWHA is well documented, little is known about the plausible role of certain personal characteristics in moderating the stigma-resilience relationship. In addition to investigating the direct association of HIV-related stigma (personalised stigma, disclosure concern, concern about public attitude and negative self-image) with resilience, the present study examined whether psychological flexibility (PF) moderates the HIV-related stigma-resilience relationship among PLWHA. Participants included 280 PLWHA (M = 39.48; SD = 9.03) selected from Sacred Heart Catholic Hospital (SHCH), Obudu, Cross River State, Nigeria. Participants completed relevant self-report measures. Results showed that patients reported moderately high levels of resilience (M = 59.13; SD = 13.98). Hierarchical multiple regression analysis showed that HIV-related stigma (personalised stigma, disclosure concern and concern about public attitudes) were not significantly associated with resilience (p = 0.230; p = 0.747; p = 0.528). HIV-related negative self-image and PF were independently and significantly associated with resilience (p = 0.024; p = 0.000). Results of moderation hypothesis revealed that PF did not moderate the relationship between HIV-related disclosure concern and resilience (p = 0.903), and between HIV-related concern about public attitudes and resilience (p = 0.905), but PF moderated the relationship of HIV-related personalised stigma and resilience (p = 0.023), and the relationship of HIV-related negative self-image and resilience (p = 0.004). Therefore, interventions to promote resilience abilities in PLWHA should consider facilitating patients’ psychological flexibility skills as it is critical in decreasing the hazardous effect of HIV-related stigma on the patients.

Research Article

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1608-5906
print ISSN: 1727-9445