Effects of psychological interventions on neuroendocrine hormone regulation and immune status in HIV-positive persons: A review of randomized controlled trials


We reviewed randomized controlled trials (RCTs) that examined the effects of psychological interventions on HIV disease markers including neuroendocrine hormone regulation and immune status. Utilizing both PubMed and PsycINFO, we searched for RCTs published over the past 20 years (1987-2007). Of the 31 RCTs identified, 14 tested effects of psychological interventions on neuroendocrine regulation or immune status. Despite the fact that there are significant methodological limitations of RCTs that have been conducted to date, psychological interventions for HIV-positive persons have been shown to be efficacious in improving psychological adjustment compared with wait-list or treatment as usual control conditions. However, there is little support for differential efficacy of group-based interventions that have been tested to date, even in comparison with semistructured social support groups. Irrespective of the treatment modality, it seems that interventions that are successful in improving psychological adjustment are more likely to have salutary effects on neuroendocrine regulation and immune status. Psychological interventions represent a viable adjuvant treatment that can assist patients with improving psychological adjustment and potentially enhancing immune status. To inform the development of innovative treatments with potentially superior efficacy, deconstruction trials are necessary to examine the effects of distinct components of multimodal psychological interventions compared with nonspecific social support effects. Effectiveness trials of promising psychological interventions with more representative samples of HIV-positive persons are also needed to provide more definitive information on the clinical utility and potential cost-effectiveness of treatments that have been developed to date. [References: 93]


Carrico AW, Antoni MH.




  • Population(s)
    • Men who have sex with men
    • Women
    • Heterosexual men
    • General HIV+ population
  • Mental Health
    • Other


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