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A pilot study of the effects of cognitive-behavioural group therapy and peer-support/counseling in decreasing psychologic distress and improving quality of life in Chinese patients with symptomatic HIV disease.

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  • Medicine
  • Psychology


Forty-six Chinese patients with symptomatic human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) participated in a comparative study assessing the effectiveness of cognitive-behavioural group therapy (CBT) and peer support/counseling group therapy (PSC) in relation to improving mood and quality of life and decreasing uncertainty in illness as compared to a group receiving routine treatment with no formal psychosocial intervention. The CBT group consisted of 10 subjects, the PSC group of 10 subjects, and the comparison group of 26 subjects. There was a 24% attrition rate. The intervention groups received 12 weekly sessions of therapy over 3 months. Assessment of mood states was carried out before randomization (baseline data), immediately postintervention (3-month time point) and followed-up 3 months later (6-month time point). Assessment of quality of life and uncertainty in illness was carried out before randomization and at the 6-month follow-up time point. results indicated that the mood of the participants in the CBT group improved in terms of anger, tension-anxiety, depression, confusion, and overall mood. The quality of life in this group was significantly improved compared to the other two groups, as was uncertainty in illness. In the PSC group a worsening of psychologic functioning was observed immediately postintervention, but this picture dramatically improved at the follow-up assessment with improvements of up to 34%. Quality of life also improved over time in this group by almost 5%, but results did not reach statistical significance. This study demonstrated that psychologic interventions could decrease psychologic distress and improve quality of life in symptomatic HIV patients, indicating their use should be incorporated in the management of care of people living with HIV/AIDS.

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