Judith Moskowitz – Teaching happiness to men with HIV boosts their health
Learning skills for positive emotions result in less HIV in blood and less anti-depressant use
Reported in ScienceDaily on April 17, 2017
When individuals recently diagnosed with HIV were coached to practice skills to help them experience positive emotions, the result was less HIV in their blood and lower antidepressant use, reports a new Northwestern Medicine study. Men using positive emotion skills learned to cope with their stress, while men in the control group increased their use of anti-depressants. The findings extend to dementia caregivers and women with metastatic breast cancer.
The paper was published recently in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology.
“Even in the midst of this stressful experience of testing positive for HIV, coaching people to feel happy, calm and satisfied — what we call positive affect — appears to influence important health outcomes,” said lead author Judith Moskowitz, professor of medical social sciences and director of research at the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.
“The group that learned coping skills did not increase antidepressant use, whereas overall the control group increased its antidepressant use,” Moskowitz said. In addition, the intervention group was significantly less likely to have repeating, intrusive thoughts about HIV.