Academic journal article Indian Journal of Positive Psychology

Ways of Coping among the HIV Infected Individuals: An Analysis

Academic journal article Indian Journal of Positive Psychology

Ways of Coping among the HIV Infected Individuals: An Analysis

Article excerpt

In our everyday life we face lots of ups and downs; sometimes due to environmental conditions, daily work schedule, and physiological conditions or simply sometimes due to some unavoidable circumstances. The best way human beings deal with this sort of crisis situation is through their ways of coping. It is believed that one of the great challenges of the next century is expected to complete the architecture of the human life course, to transform the life into a period where the gains outnumber the losses, and labeling the last ages of the years of life as the 'golden years' and the current idea for that is gradually becoming more connected to the need to stay young, lively both in the sense of activity and physical appearance (Biggs, 2002; Coupland, 2007).This wish of being healthy and lively in all phases of life largely depends on the coping measures that people adapt to deal with different circumstances of their life.

Coping and different coping strategies

In Psychology, coping is expending conscious effort to solve personal and interpersonal problems, and seeking to master, minimize or tolerate stress or conflict (Weiten & Lloyd, 2008).The term coping generally refers to adaptive or constructive coping strategies, i.e., the strategies which reduce stress levels. Coping responses are partly controlled by personality (habitual traits), but also partly by the social context, particularly the nature of the stressful environment. Depending on different personality styles, traits and also environmental demands different people adapt different sort of coping strategies. The Lazarus and Folkman model suggests that external events create a form of pressure to achieve, engage in, or experience a stressful situation. Stress is not the external event itself, but rather an interpretation and response to the potential threat; this is when the coping process begins (Snyder & Lefcourt, 2001). There are various ways individuals deal with perceived threats that may be stressful. However, people have a tendency to respond to threats with a predominant coping style, in which they dismiss feelings, or manipulate the stressful situation.

There arc different classifications for coping, or defense mechanisms, however they all are variations on the same general idea. There are good/productive and negative/counterproductive ways to handle stress. Because stress is perceived, the following mechanisms do not necessarily deal with the actual situation that is causing an individual stress. However, they may be considered coping mechanisms if they allow the individual to cope better with the negative feelings, circumstances that they arc experiencing due to the perceived stressful situation. The different coping mechanisms include:

* Highly Active/Problem-focused Mechanisms

* Mental Inhibition Mechanisms

* Health Promoting Mechanism

All the mechanisms help individual for coping with stress, in which one works to minimize their anxiety and stress in a preventative manner.

HIV and coping strategies

HIV/AIDS is a major concern and has only recently attracted the attention of psychosocial researchers, especially among subjects at higher risk. A number of clinical psychiatric syndromes have been identified in relation with HIV infections. As with any other life threatening illness, the HIV patient must adapt to a set of disease specific factors such as medical, psychological and social as well as the general threat of death. All these factors may often lead to various psychiatric conditions like anxiety and depression; and they tend to adapt certain adaptive & maladaptive coping styles.

Male and female HIV patients tend to differ in terms of their reaction to different stressors and thus they vary in terms of their ways of coping. A study on the level of depression and coping pattern in IIIV positive patients indicated that females have higher level of depression when compared to male patients. …

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