Cognitive Functioning and Its Relationship with Self-Stigma in Men with HIV Who Have Sex with Men: The Mediating Role of Health-Related Quality of Life

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Title: Cognitive Functioning and Its Relationship with Self-Stigma in Men with HIV Who Have Sex with Men: The Mediating Role of Health-Related Quality of Life
Authors: Ruiz-Robledillo, Nicolás | Clement, Violeta | Ferrer-Cascales, Rosario | Portilla-Tamarit, Irene | Alcocer-Bruno, Cristian | Gabaldón Bravo, Eva María
Research Group/s: Psicología Aplicada a la Salud y Comportamiento Humano (PSYBHE) | Enfermería y Cultura de los Cuidados (EYCC)
Center, Department or Service: Universidad de Alicante. Departamento de Psicología de la Salud | Universidad de Alicante. Departamento de Enfermería
Keywords: HIV | Men who have sex with men | Memory | Health-related quality of life
Knowledge Area: Personalidad, Evaluación y Tratamiento Psicológico | Psicología Básica | Enfermería
Issue Date: 16-Dec-2021
Publisher: Dove Press
Citation: Psychology Research and Behavior Management. 2021, 14: 2103-2114.
Abstract: Introduction: The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) stills remains a serious public health problem. HIV acquisition has several negative health consequences, such as a cognitive deterioration or health-related quality of life (HRQoL) impairment. Although these negative consequences could be directly related to a significant increase in self-stigma in this population, few previous studies have analysed the possible associations between these variables. This is especially the case in specific groups of people living with HIV, such as men who have sex with men who could be at a greater risk of stigmatisation. The main aim of the present study was to evaluate the association between cognitive functioning, HRQoL and self-stigma in a group of men with HIV who have sex with men. Methods: The present study was conducted in the Infectious Diseases Unit of the General University Hospital of Alicante (Spain). The final sample was composed of 70 participants who passed the inclusion and exclusion criteria. All were men with HIV who had sex with men and the sample’s mean age was 45 years. Each participant completed questionnaires on HRQoL and HIV self-stigma. Moreover, they completed an online cognitive assessment through the previously validated platform for cognitive evaluation CogniFit, Inc. Results: The obtained results showed a significant association between memory functioning impairment, lower levels of HRQoL and higher HIV self-stigma scores. Hence, HRQoL, in the mental summary domain, was shown to be a significant mediator in the relationship between low memory performance and higher HIV self-stigma. Discussion: Neurocognitive impairment could decrease HRQoL in men with HIV who have sex with men, and hence, reinforce the idea widespread in society that having HIV holds serious consequences. This fact, together with the reduced cognitive abilities to fight against their own self-stigma could represent plausible explanations of the obtained results. In this sense, intervention strategies, oriented towards reducing cognitive impairment, such as those based on cognitive training, and other psychological interventions to promote HRQoL could be effective approaches to prevent the negative effects of HIV self-stigma in this population.
Sponsor: This study was funded by the Office of the Vice President of Research and Knowledge Transfer of the University of Alicante, Grant Number: GRE-18-17B.
ISSN: 1179-1578
DOI: 10.2147/PRBM.S332494
Language: eng
Type: info:eu-repo/semantics/article
Rights: © 2021 Ruiz-Robledillo et al. This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited. The full terms of this license are available at and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License ( By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed. For permission for commercial use of this work, please see paragraphs 4.2 and 5 of our Terms (
Peer Review: si
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Appears in Collections:INV - PSYBHE - Artículos de Revistas
INV - EYCC - Artículos de Revistas

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