Off-campus UMass Amherst users: To download campus access dissertations, please use the following link to log into our proxy server with your UMass Amherst user name and password.
Non-UMass Amherst users: Please talk to your librarian about requesting this dissertation through interlibrary loan.
Dissertations that have an embargo placed on them will not be available to anyone until the embargo expires.
Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Clinical Psychology | Public Health
There is considerable research on caregiving for individuals with various chronic illnesses, but there is relatively little research about caring for individuals with HIV/AIDS. Few studies have delved deeply into care recipients' and informal caregivers' subjective experiences of informal caregiving, the quality of the informal caregiving relationship, and their understanding of the impact of the relationship on the mental and physical wellbeing for both parties involved. Therefore, the goal of the project was to gain a better understanding of relationship quality in HIV informal caregiving relationships to determine if there are specific attributes that care recipients and caregivers perceive may contribute to the quality of the relationship and whether, and if so how, it subjectively impacts both parties involved. This project used a qualitative interview methodology (narrative analysis) to explore HIV positive care recipients' and their informal caregivers' subjective experiences. Due to the interdependence that is inherent in dyadic work, the data presented generally described both the receivers' and givers' experience together. Several themes emerged consistently across dyads, including caregiving being embedded into complex family structure and dynamics that accentuate normative feelings people have about their family or pre-existing relationships and caregiving creating learning curves with respect to how each member of each dyad learned about his or her self, as well as his or her partner, in addition to learning about HIV/AIDS, and informal caregiving. Several sub-themes emerged from the findings as well. Policy makers and health providers may benefit from understanding that caregiving is a dynamic activity that is ongoing across the lifespan and, depending on the age and health status of the caregiver, has important implications for the overall well-being of both the care recipient and the care provider.
Branch, Allison Casta Mercado, "The Importance of Relationship Quality in Informal HIV Caregiving: A Dyadic Process" (2012). Doctoral Dissertations 1896 - February 2014. 400.