Posttraumatic growth, hiv, mental health counseling, hiv stigma, counselor education


The present study investigated the influence of HIV-related stigma, social support, and impact of HIV diagnosis on posttraumatic growth (PTG) in adults living with HIV (N = 126). In addition, the study aimed to identify if social support moderated the relationship between stigma and PTG. Lastly, the study attempted to determine how impactful receiving an HIV diagnosis was to the sample. One hundred and twenty-six adults living with HIV within the state of Florida (41% response rate) participated in the research. Participants were recruited from a series of support groups and HIV focused agencies throughout the state, and responded through face to face survey administration. Each assessment packet consisted of the following assessments: (a) Posttraumatic Growth Inventory; [PTGI], Tedeschi & Calhoun, 1996, (b) Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support; [MSPSS], Zimet, Dahlem, Zimet, & Farley, 1988, (c) Berger HIV Stigma Scale; Berger, Ferrans, & Lashley, 2001, (d) Impact of Event Scale [IES-R . Weiss & Marmar, 1996], (e) Reynolds Short Form Social Desirability Scale; Reynolds, 1982, and (f) a demographic questionnaire. Multiple regression analysis was used to determine whether the independent variables were predictive of the outcome of PTG. Findings from the study revealed that each of the predictor variables (i.e., stigma, social support, and impact of diagnosis) contributed significantly (p<.05) to the model, and accounted for 12% of the variance in PTGI scores. In examining the moderating presence of social support between stigma and PTG, there was no found significant interaction between stigma and social support. Significant differences in PTG scores were also identified amongst differing demographic groups, specifically participant ethnicity and religious orientation. Findings also revealed that 38.5% of the sample reported their HIV diagnosis as so impactful that they would likely qualify for a clinical diagnosis of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Furthermore, a detailed discussion of previous literature, study procedures and methodology, counselor implications, counselor educator implications, and recommendations for future research are discussed.


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Graduation Date





Hagedorn, W. Bryce


Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


College of Education and Human Performance

Degree Program

Education; Counselor Education








Release Date

May 2014

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)


Dissertations, Academic -- Education and Human Performance; Education and Human Performance -- Dissertations, Academic

Restricted to the UCF community until May 2014; it will then be open access.