Work adjustment in persons living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA): A biopsychosocial perspective

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Baker, Lisa
Hoffman, Mary Ann
While there is evidence that Persons Living with HIV/AIDS (PLHWA) have unique and changing needs and concerns in their workplaces, such as changes in health status, high medical costs, emotional consequences of the disease, and concerns about discrimination, no previous studies could be found on work adjustment (e.g., job satisfaction) in PLWHA. However, past research has linked employment disruption and decisions to disease progression, cognitive impairment, physical symptoms, depression/anxiety, concern about discrimination, and medical costs (e.g., Ezzy et al., 1999; Heaton et al., 1994; Martin, Brooks, Ortiz, & Veniegas, 2003). Therefore, this study tested a biopsychosocial model of work adjustment in employed PLWHA (N = 57), based on Hoffman and Driscoll's (2002) Concentric Biopsychosocial Model. It was hypothesized that physical health (fatigue and pain), psychological adjustment, and work support/environment would uniquely predict work adjustment (e.g., job satisfaction), where psychosocial variables were expected to account for the most of the variance explained. With the exception of pain symptoms, the predictor variables in the model were found to correlate with the primary outcome, job satisfaction. A hierarchical block-wise regression was then utilized to test the model, where the physical health variable (i.e. energy/fatigue) was entered first, followed by the entry of the psychological adjustment variable in the second block. The work environment variables (i.e., perceived supervisor support, perceived discrimination) were entered in the third and final block. Results partially supported the proposed model with 25% of the variance in job satisfaction explained in the third step, where perceived supervisor support and workplace discrimination accounted for a statistically significant amount of the variance. These findings support the importance of examining perceptions of workplace environment when addressing work adjustment and employment concerns of PLWHA.