Challenges in addressing depression in HIV research: Assessment, cultural context, and methods

Jane M. Simoni, Steven A. Safren, Lisa E. Manhart, Karen Lyda, Cynthia I. Grossman, Deepa Rao, Matthew J. Mimiaga, Frank Y. Wong, Sheryl L. Catz, Michael B. Blank, Ralph Diclemente, Ira B. Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

89 Scopus citations


Depression is one of the most common co-morbidities of HIV infection. It negatively impacts self-care, quality of life, and biomedical outcomes among people living with HIV (PLWH) and may interfere with their ability to benefit from health promotion interventions. State-of-the-science research among PLWH, therefore, must address depression. To guide researchers, we describe the main diagnostic, screening, and symptom-rating measures of depression, offering suggestions for selecting the most appropriate instrument. We also address cultural considerations in the assessment of depression among PLWH, emphasizing the need to consider measurement equivalence and offering strategies for developing measures that are valid cross-culturally. Finally, acknowledging the high prevalence of depression among PLWH, we provide guidance to researchers on incorporating depression into the theoretical framework of their studies and employing procedures that account for participants with depression.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)376-388
Number of pages13
JournalAIDS and Behavior
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2011
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments Portions of some of the investigators’ time were supported by the University of Washington Center for AIDS Research (CFAR; P30 AI027757), which is supported by the following NIH Institutes and Centers: NIAID, NCI, NIMH, NIDA, NICHD, NHLBI, NCCAM. Cynthia Grossman’s contribution to this work was written as part of her official duties as a government employee. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of the NIMH, NIH, Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), or the US government. The authors would like to thank the Centers for AIDS Research Social and Behavioral Science Research Network for its support of this work.


  • Depression
  • Measurement
  • Research methods


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