A randomized clinical trial of a coping improvement group intervention for HIV-infected older adults.


This research tested if a 12-session coping improvement group intervention (n = 104) reduced depressive symptoms in HIV-infected older adults compared to an interpersonal support group intervention (n = 105) and an individual therapy upon request (ITUR) control condition (n = 86). Participants were 295 HIV-infected men and women 50-plus years of age living in New York City, Cincinnati, OH, and Columbus, OH. Using A-CASI assessment methodology, participants provided data on their depressive symptoms using the Geriatric Depression Screening Scale (GDS) at pre-intervention, post-intervention, and 4- and 8-month follow-up. Whether conducted with all participants (N = 295) or only a subset of participants diagnosed with mild, moderate, or severe depressive symptoms (N = 171), mixed models analyses of repeated measures found that both coping improvement and interpersonal support group intervention participants reported fewer depressive symptoms than ITUR controls at post-intervention, 4-month follow-up, and 8-month follow-up. The effect sizes of the differences between the two active interventions and the control group were greater when outcome analyses were limited to those participants with mild, moderate, or severe depressive symptoms. At no assessment period did coping improvement and interpersonal support group intervention participants differ in depressive symptoms.





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Publication Info

Heckman, Timothy G, Kathleen J Sikkema, Nathan Hansen, Arlene Kochman, Victor Heh, Sharon Neufeld and undefined AIDS and Aging Research Group (2011). A randomized clinical trial of a coping improvement group intervention for HIV-infected older adults. J Behav Med, 34(2). pp. 102–111. 10.1007/s10865-010-9292-6 Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/6061.

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Kathleen J. Sikkema

Research Professor in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience

Kathleen J. Sikkema, Ph.D., Gosnell Family Professor of Global Health, Psychology and Neuroscience, and Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Duke University, is a clinical psychologist with emphases in health and community psychology. She is the Director of Doctoral Studies at the Duke Global Health Institute (DGHI), Director of the Social and Behavioral Science Core in Duke's Center for AIDS Research (CFAR), and Director of the Global Mental Health Initiative at DGHI

Dr. Sikkema, an expert in randomized, controlled HIV prevention and mental health intervention trials, has been supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for over 25 years. She conducts research on the development of HIV-related mental health interventions focused on traumatic stress and coping. Sikkema's intervention programs have been recognized by the CDC as "best evidence interventions" as well as the National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices (NREPP).

Dr. Sikkema's research is also focused on the development and evaluation of HIV risk behavior change interventions, with expertise in community-level intervention trials and university-community collaboration. She recently developed and evaluated a brief risk reduction intervention (PC: Positive Choices), in collaboration with the Callen Lorde Community Health Center, for those newly diagnosed with HIV, with implications for engagement in care and HIV prevention.

Dr. Sikkema's current research is focused in South Africa, collaborating with various South African universities since 2001. Building on prior work with abused women, she recently completed a multi-method longitudinal study to inform development of innovative intervention approaches related to gender, HIV risk and alcohol use in South Africa. Dr. Sikkema's current efforts are focused on the development of mental health interventions that address the intersection of HIV care engagement and HIV prevention.

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