Social support and mood in gay caregivers of men with AIDS

Varda Soskolne, Michael Acree, Susan Folkman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


The objectives of the study were to compare different aspects of social support between caregiving partners of men with AIDS and partners of healthy men and to examine the association of social support with positive and negative mood. Data were collected in a longitudinal study of 244 gay male caregivers and 61 comparison gay male noncaregivers. Measures included perceived positive support; social conflict; sought support; amount, types, and sources of received support; relationships with family; and positive and negative mood. Cross-sectional analyses and changes between baseline and 2 years were examined. No significant differences were found between the caregivers and noncaregivers in most aspects of social support. Regression analyses showed (a) caregiver status was associated with positive and negative mood (caregivers reported lower positive mood and higher negative mood) at baseline, but not at 2 years; (b) perceived support was the only variable significantly associated with positive mood at baseline and at 2 years; and (c) social conflict (at both times) and perceived support, amount of received support, and having a family confidant (at one of the time periods) were associated with negative mood. The findings support the importance of distinguishing between perceptual and behavioral aspects of social support and their relation to both positive and negative mood.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)221-232
Number of pages12
JournalAIDS and Behavior
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We are grateful to the men who participated in the research, and thank Eunice Dizon for her assistance in the analysis, Judith Wrubel for providing the narratives, and Robert B. Hays, Jeffrey Mandel, and Edward Bein for insightful comments. The research was supported by Grants 44045, 49985, and 53517 from the National Institute of Mental Health awarded to Susan Folkman. The current analysis was conducted while the first author was a Visiting Research Scholar at the Center for AIDS Prevention Studies, University of California, San Francisco.


  • Caregiving
  • Gay men
  • Mood
  • Social support


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