Social support, stress and affect among people with HIV/AIDS: a diary study of buffering hypothesis

  • E. Gruszczynska
  • M. Rzeszutek
  • E. Firląg-Burkacka


Background: The aim of the study was to examine a buffering role of time-varying provided and received support in relationship between stress and the end-of-day mood among people living with HIV/AIDS. Methods: Participants were 118 patients with a confirmed HIV+ diagnosis (86% men, aged 40±10.6 years, 60% in relationship). For five consecutive days, in online diary they rated each night their positive (PA) and negative (NA) state affect, stress related to central hassles and provided as well as received social support. Findings: Multilevel analysis revealed that effect of daily stress on state affect was moderated by daily provided, but not received social support. Specifically, positive association between daily stress and NA was weaker when accompanied by higher support provision. Also, being in relationship additionally weakened this association. There were no such effects for PA. On the contrary, at between-person level only higher received support was related to both lower NA and higher PA. The results were controlled for gender, age, CD4 level and AIDS diagnosis. Discussion: Observed effects of social support depend on analysis level (within– or between-person), direction of social exchange and outcome valence (positive or negative affect). Self-reported support provision buffered the same-day stress effect on NA, more strongly for participants in a close relationship. It suggests that on daily basis people living with HIV/AIDS may benefit more from self-perception of caring for someone than from being carried by, especially if they have a stable partner. However, these findings need further examination in a dyadic approach.
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