The relationship between blame attributions, perceived benefits and psychological adaptation in adults with HIV/AIDS

Jennifer Lynn Harter, Fordham University

Abstract

There are conflicting views in the literature about whether self-blame is adaptive or maladaptive. This study examined behavioral-, characterological-, and other-blame attributions for getting HIV, perceived benefits from having HIV/AIDS, and adaptation among 91 individuals (44 males; 47 females) enrolled in an AIDS clinic at a suburban county medical center.^ Participants completed four self-report instruments which included; a blame measure, the Personal Growth Scale (tapping perceived benefits), the Mental Adjustment to HIV Scale, and a demographic questionnaire. Data were analyzed for the entire sample, and gender differences were also explored.^ Behavioral self-blame was positively correlated with the belief that one could impact upon the course of the disease. Characterological self-blame was also positively correlated with the belief that one could influence the course of the disease, and negatively correlated with a fatalistic attitude. No relationship was found between blaming others and adjustment. Perceiving benefits from getting HIV was positively correlated with both fighting spirit and the belief that one could influence the course of the disease, and negatively correlated with fatalism.^ When perceived avoidability of HIV infection was controlled through partial correlation characterological self-blame was positively correlated with helplessness-hopelessness, negatively correlated with fatalism, and unrelated to the belief that one could impact upon the course of the disease. Controlling for perceived avoidability, illness severity, and length of time since diagnosis did not effect the relationships among the other study variables.^ Males blamed their HIV infection on their own character significantly more than females. Conversely, females blamed others for their HIV infection significantly more than males. Implications of these findings were discussed, and recommendations for future research were made. ^

Subject Area

Psychology, Clinical|Psychology, Personality

Recommended Citation

Jennifer Lynn Harter, "The relationship between blame attributions, perceived benefits and psychological adaptation in adults with HIV/AIDS" (January 1, 1998). ETD Collection for Fordham University. Paper AAI9825862.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI9825862

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