A Randomized Clinical Trial of Alternative Stress Management Interventions in Persons With HIV Infection

Nancy L. McCain, D. Patricia Gray, R. K. Elswick, Jolynne W. Robins, Inez Tuck, Jeanne M. Walter, Sarah M. Rausch, Jessica Mc Kinney Ketchum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Scopus citations


Research in psychoneuroimmunology suggests that immunosuppression associated with perceived stress may contribute to disease progression in persons with HIV infection. While stress management interventions may enhance immune function, few alternative approaches have yet been tested. This randomized clinical trial was conducted to test effects of three 10-week stress management approaches-cognitive-behavioral relaxation training (RLXN), focused tai chi training (TCHI), and spiritual growth groups (SPRT)-in comparison to a wait-listed control group (CTRL) among 252 individuals with HIV infection. Using repeated measures mixed modeling, the authors found that in comparison to the CTRL group, (a) both the RLXN and TCHI groups used less emotion-focused coping, and (b) all treatment groups had augmented lymphocyte proliferative function. Despite modest effects of the interventions on psychosocial functioning, robust findings of improved immune function have important clinical implications, particularly for persons with immune-mediated illnesses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)431-441
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • HIV infection
  • psychoneuroimmunology
  • spirituality intervention
  • stress management
  • tai chi intervention

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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