The purpose of this study was to identify factors related to perception of physical health in a cohort of HIV-infected women. A descriptive correlational design was used to identify factors influencing perceived physical health in a sample of 275 HIV-infected women in Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. Participants were predominantly single African-American women with household incomes of less than $10,000 per year.
Using Spearman’s rho, statistically significant positive correlations (p < .05) were found between perceived physical health and T helper cell count, hope, present life satisfaction, education, and income. Statistically significant positive correlations (p <.05) were observed between perceived physical health and three HIV-specific active coping styles (managing the illness, focusing on others, and positive thinking). Inverse relationships were observed between perceived physical health and HIVrelated symptoms, stage of illness, depression, physical and sexual violence experienced since becoming HIV-infected, history of drug use since becoming HIV-infected, and age. Using backward stepwise selection, 9 of 14 variables were retained in the final model that explained 60% of the variance in physical health at the p < .10 level of significance (R2 = .60). Variables that demonstrated a significant relationship with perceived physical health were HIV-related symptoms, depression, present life satisfaction, age, education, coping by managing the illness, coping through positive thinking, and coping by focusing on the present. These findings support the need to address the psychosocial as well as the physiologic factors associated with HIV/AIDS in developing comprehensive plans of nursing care.
- perceived health,
- physical health