A cross-sectional relationship between social capital, self-compassion, and perceived HIV symptoms




Webel, Allison
wantland, dean
Dawson Rose, Carol
Kemppainen, Jeanne
Holzemer, William
Chen, Wei-ti
Johnson, Mallory O.
Nicholas, Patrice
Sanzero Eller, Lucille
chaiphibalsarisdi, puangtip

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Context Individual resources of social capital and self-compassion are associated with health behaviors and perceived symptoms, suggesting that both are positive resources that can be modified to improve a person's symptom experience.

Objectives The aim was to examine the relationship between self-compassion and social capital and its impact on current HIV symptom experience in adult people living with HIV (PLWH). We further explored the impact of age on this relationship.

Methods We conducted a cross-sectional analysis of 2182 PLWH at 20 sites in five countries. Social capital, self-compassion, and HIV symptom experience were evaluated using valid and reliable scales. To account for inflated significance associated with a large sample size, we took a random sample of 28% of subjects (n = 615) and conducted correlation analyses and zero-inflated Poisson regression, controlling for known medical and demographic variables impacting HIV symptom experience.

Results Controlling for age, sex at birth, year of HIV diagnosis, comorbid health conditions, employment, and income, our model significantly predicted HIV symptom experience (overall model z = 5.77, P < 0.001). Employment status and social capital were consistent, negative, and significant predictors of HIV symptom experience. Self-compassion did not significantly predict HIV symptom experience. For those reporting symptoms, an increase in age was significantly associated with an increase in symptoms.

Conclusion Employment and social capital modestly predicted current HIV symptom experience. Social capital can be incorporated into symptom management interventions, possibly as a way to reframe a person's symptom appraisal. This may be increasingly important as PLWH age. The relationship between employment status and HIV symptom experience was significant and should be explored further.



Symptom, HIV, self-compassion, social capital


This project was supported in part by: NIH UL1 RR024131; NIH T32NR007081; NIH KL2RR024990; NIH R15NR011130; International Pilot Award, University of Washington Center for AIDS Research (P30 AI027757); University of British Columbia School of Nursing Helen Shore Fund; Duke University School of Nursing Office of Research Affairs; MGH Institute of Health Professions; University of Washington School of Nursing Research and Intramural Funding Program; Rutgers College of Nursing; City University of New York; and the Irwin Belk Distinguished Professorship Fund-University of North Carolina Wilmington. The contents of this manuscript are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the NIH or any other funders. These funding agencies had no role in the study design; in the collection, analysis, and interpretation of data; in the writing of the report; or in the decision to submit the paper for publication. The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International


Webel, A.R., Wantland, D., Rose, C.D., Kemppainen, J., Holzemer, W.L., Chen, W.T., Johnson, M.O., Nicholas, P., Eller, L.S., Chaiphibalsarisdi, P. and Sefcik, E., 2015. A cross-sectional relationship between social capital, self-compassion, and perceived HIV symptoms. Journal of pain and symptom management, 50(1), pp.59-68.