Despite persistent stigmatization of people living with HIV (PLHIV) across the globe, group identification among these individuals may serve to counteract the detrimental effect of prejudice and discrimination associated with the stigmatized identity. Drawing on resilience theory and social identity theory, this study examined how multiple dimensions of group identification (i.e., in-group ties, in-group affect, and centrality) function to buffer and neutralize the negative impact of HIV stigma. A total of 281 PLHIV were recruited from the only community-based public HIV clinic in Hong Kong to participate in this study. The results revealed a protective effect of in-group affect, which moderated the relationship between HIV stigma and mental health, such that HIV stigma was not associated with mental health among people with higher positive in-group affect. In addition, a positive compensatory effect of in-group ties was found in people with higher HIV identity centrality. Given the protective effect of in-group affect, it is important to re-story the lives among PLHIV by challenging their maladaptive beliefs about being PLHIV and building a positive sense of identity in their personal narratives. Community-based interventions should be provided to individuals with higher HIV identity centrality by offering peer support groups and engaging them in community work. Copyright © 2020 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature.
CitationChan, R. C. H., & Mak, W. W. S. (2020). Protective and compensatory effects of group identification on the mental health of people living with HIV. Archives of Sexual Behavior. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1007/s10508-020-01823-7
- HIV stigma
- Mental health
- Group identifcation
- People living with HIV