Randomized trial of a positive affect skills intervention for people newly diagnosed with HIV
Judith Moskowitz, Ph.D., M.P.H.
Observational studies indicate that positive affect has unique beneficial psychological and physical health effects in the context of stress. We tested whether a positive affect skills intervention in the 3 months following HIV-diagnosis was associated with improvements in coping and psychological well-being. Participants were randomly assigned to 5 weekly in-person sessions to learn positive affect skills (n = 80) or to participate in an attention matched control condition (personal interviews; n = 79.) Follow up assessments were conducted at 5, 10, and 15 months post diagnosis. Intent to treat analyses indicated that both groups had significant increases in positive affect and significant decreases in depressive mood. Compared to controls, intervention participants had decreases on PTSD symptoms, antidepressant use, rumination, and improvements in mindfulness. We conclude that positive affect interventions hold promise for helping people
cope with stressful life experiences.