The Effect of Early Life Stress and Minority Status on Neurocognitive Functioning in Diverse Adults Living with HIV

Emily Patricia Morris, Fordham University

Abstract

Racial/ethnic minorities are disproportionately affected by HIV infection and poorer neurocognitive and physical health outcomes. People living with HIV (PLWH) report greater levels of early life stress (ELS) than their HIV-seronegative counterparts. Outside the context of HIV, racial/ethnic minorities report greater levels of ELS than non-Hispanic whites. HIV and ELS are each associated with poorer neurocognitive function; however, no research to date has investigated the intersection of racial/ethnic minority status and ELS exposure on neurocognitive functioning in PLWH. This study sought to fill this gap by examining whether racial/ethnic minority status and ELS exposure interacted to affect neurocognitive functioning in a diverse group of PLWH. The sample of 122 PLWH (96 racial/ethnic minorities [non-Hispanic Black/African American or Latinx] and 26 non-Hispanic whites) completed neurocognitive and psychosocial evaluations. The results indicated that there was a trend-level difference in ELS exposure, such that a greater proportion of racial/ethnic minorities were in the “high ELS” group (p<.1). The study also demonstrated that racial/ethnic minority status significantly interacted with ELS exposure to predict executive functioning, such that racial/ethnic minorities with high ELS exposure exhibited worse performance on measures of executive functioning (p<.05). In conclusion, ELS should be examined as an important psychosocial factor when evaluating neurocognitive performance in the context of racial/ethnic minority PLWH.

Subject Area

Neurosciences|Psychobiology

Recommended Citation

Morris, Emily Patricia, "The Effect of Early Life Stress and Minority Status on Neurocognitive Functioning in Diverse Adults Living with HIV" (2019). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI13877648.
https://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI13877648

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