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The Relationship of Spirituality, Benefit Finding, and Other Psychosocial Variables to the Hormone Oxytocin in HIV/AIDS

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Chapter Summary

The hormone oxytocin plays a role in social relationships and bonding, yet it has been relatively unexplored in relation to psychosocial variables. Thus, the aim of this study was to determine whether associations exist among oxytocin and the psychological resource factors spirituality, benefit finding, coping, and optimism, as well as depression and anxiety, in a diverse HIV-positive sample. The psychological resource factors spirituality and benefit finding were found to be associated with increased levels of oxytocin, suggesting that future studies should examine whether this hormone may play a protective role in HIV/AIDS, perhaps by mediating the relationship between these resource-related factors and health outcomes. The authors investigated oxytocin in the study because it is the “tend and befriend” hormone which is elevated in social bonding. In addition, oxytocin has potential protective effects on health in general and in the HIV disease process.

Keywords:AIDS; HIV; oxytocin; psychosocial variable; spirituality



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