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Being Yourself and Mental Health: Goal Motives, Positive Affect and Self-Acceptance Protect People with HIV from Depressive Symptoms

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Depression is a major problem for many people living with HIV. In general population-based studies, it was found that characteristics of personal goals, positive affect, and self-acceptance were associated negatively with depression, but almost no studies have investigated their role in HIV infection-related depression. This study examines a prospective model where autonomy and perceived progress in personal goals are positively associated with self-acceptance and positive affect, and these variables, over time, are negatively associated with depressive symptoms. Participants (N = 70) responded first to measures of autonomy, progress in personal goals, perceptions of self-acceptance, and positive affect, and 4 months later, they completed measures of depression. Personal goals variables were observed to be differentially associated with well-being variables: whereas personal goals autonomy was directly associated with both well-being variables, progress in personal goals was directly associated with positive affect and indirectly with self-acceptance, through its association with positive affect. Longitudinally, both self-acceptance and positive affect were associated with depression, the former directly, and the latter indirectly, through its association with self-acceptance. Self-acceptance is revealed as an important predictor of depression in PLWH. Results are discussed in terms of the contributions of hedonic and eudaimonic well-being to the relief of depressive symptoms.

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The authors acknowledge the assistance received by Professor Joaquín Aldas-Manzano in methodological aspects of this paper.


Funding was provided by Fundación para la Investigación y la Prevención del Sida en España (Grant No. 18754/08).

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Correspondence to Eneko Sansinenea.

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Sansinenea, E., Asla, N., Agirrezabal, A. et al. Being Yourself and Mental Health: Goal Motives, Positive Affect and Self-Acceptance Protect People with HIV from Depressive Symptoms. J Happiness Stud 21, 593–612 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10902-019-00098-7

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  • Personal goals
  • Positive affect
  • Self-acceptance
  • Depression
  • HIV/aids