Date of Graduation
This study examined the reactions of mental health professionals to acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS)-related bereavement. Ninety-six mental health professionals from across the United States (e.g., counselors, social workers, and psychologists) completed questionnaires concerning the loss of a client to AIDS. Measures included the Texas Revised Inventory of Grief, Impact of Event Scale-Revised, Brief Symptom Inventory, and Satisfaction with Life Scale. There were no significant relations between client deaths (number and recency) and indices of grief, trauma, psychological distress, or satisfaction with life. Symptoms of distress did not increase with number of deaths or in relation to recency of a client's death. Subsequent analyses revealed a significant relation between an avoidant response and many client deaths (11 to 500 deaths), and between recency of a client's death (greater than four months) and a reported greater satisfaction with life. Participants reporting a traumatic stress response (high IES-R scores) showed significantly higher grief (past and present) scores and GSI score on the BSI. An â€œHIV/AIDS traumatic-grief syndromeâ€ was posited for some mental health professionals who lose clients to AIDS. In addition, there were no significant differences between participants in therapy/support group to address their own grief and loss issues related to the death of clients to AIDS, and participants not involved in therapy across all measures. Multiple regression analyses revealed that the demographic characteristics, suicide, gender (females), age (younger participants), and sexual orientation (gay and lesbian) emerged as predictors of distress variables, while percentage of clients with HIV/AIDS (2% to 50%), number of deaths (less number), sexual orientation (heterosexuals) and academic degree (graduate training) were associated with a greater satisfaction with life. Supplemental analyses showed that participants with 75% to 100% of clients with HIV/AIDS, participants working at an AIDS Center or AIDS Project, and gay and lesbian participants were demographic characteristics associated with distress in response to AIDS-related bereavement. The results also showed that female participants scored significantly higher on the measure of Intrusive symptoms and male participants scored significantly higher of the measures of Interpersonal Sensitivity and Phobic Anxiety. Additionally, years worked with persons with HIV/AIDS (greater number of years) was associated with a greater satisfaction with life. The findings seem to identify mental health practitioners who may be at risk or susceptible for distress following the death of a client with AIDS.
Kachik, Joseph Robert, "Reactions of mental health professionals to the death of clients from acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS)." (1999). Graduate Theses, Dissertations, and Problem Reports. 9139.