Project Details


There is increasing evidence that psychosocial processes influence the immune system and these effects may contribute to the onset and course of disease. The natural history of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection is not well known and understanding the effects of psychosocial factors on immunity may be critically important in relation to the current AIDS epidemic. The co-occurrence of psychological states that compromise the immune system and behaviors associated with HIV transmission may substantially exacerbate susceptibility to and progression of AIDS. This is of particular concern in high-risk populations and research is urgently needed to understand factors that may contribute to the spread of AIDS in inner city adolescents and young adults. The overall goal of this research is to increase our understanding of psychological and behavioral factors that may contribute to AIDS-risk in inner city adolescents by: 1. investigating interactions between psychosocial and immune processes in a population at risk for AIDS and 2. concurrently assessing the extent of high risk behaviors for HIV transmission in the same sample. To obtain a wide spectrum of study subjects with varying rates of life stress and distress and of high-risk behavior, several adolescent populations across a range of ages will be sampled: juvenile offenders, adolescents attending Newark public schools, and adolescents attending a community based health care center. An anonymous HIV screening of a separate sample of inner city adolescents will also be obtained to determine if base rates are sufficiently high to require the investigation of HIV status as an interacting variable. Little is known concerning psychosocial processes and immunity in inner city adolescents and the research methodology will be guided by psychoimmunologic findings by the applicants and others. 420 adolescents will be interviewed concerning life stress and affective disturbance, screening physical examinations will be obtained, and blood drawn for immunologic assessment. High risk behaviors for HIV transmission including drug use and risky sexual behaviors will be assessed. All subjects will be restudied at 6 month intervals for 2 years to investigate prospectively the durational aspects of the psychoimmunologic effects as well as change over time in high risk behaviors.
Effective start/end date1/1/907/31/92


  • National Institute of Mental Health


  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Infectious Diseases


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