A comprehensive self-administered life event inventory examining both general life stress and stress from events specific to the homosexual and bisexual male population was developed in order to assess the impact of AIDS and HIV infection on homo and bisexual men. Ranking of questions revealed that while general stressors affected homosexuals similarly to heterosexuals, there were critical stressors affecting homosexuals not measured by conventional inventories. Specifically, emotional distress from receiving an HIV antibody positive result was not significantly different to that caused by a diagnosis of AIDS or ARC, the diagnosis of AIDS in a lover or the death of a lover. A sharp discrepancy in emotional distress between current safer sex behaviour and current unsafe sexual behaviour was also found, and the implications for behavioural modification in this area noted. Those who were HIV antibody positive tended to evaluate the anticipated impact of further AIDS related diagnoses as having a greater emotional impact than those who had tested negative. There would appear to be a closer relationship between emotional distress and life change in homosexual men than in heterosexual samples. The relative emotional impacts and life change assessments of AIDS and HIV infection are discussed.
- life change
- life events