Mental health status of clients from three HIV/AIDS palliative care projects

Daniel Karus, Victoria H. Raveis, Katherine Marconi, Peter Selwyn, Carla Alexander, Barbara Hanna, Irene J. Higginson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To describe mental health status and its correlates among clients of three palliative care programs targeting underserved populations. Methods: Mental Health Inventory (MHI-5) scores of clients from programs in Alabama (n = 39), Baltimore (n = 57), and New York City (n = 84) were compared. Results: Mean MHI-5 scores did not differ among sites and were indicative of poor mental health. Significant differences were noted among sites with regard to client sociodemographics, physical functioning, and perceptions of interpersonal relations. Results of multivariate regression models estimated for each site suggest variation in the relative importance of potential predictors among sites. Whereas poorer mental health was primarily associated with history of drug dependence at Baltimore and more physical symptomatology at New York, better mental health was most strongly correlated with more positive perceptions of interpersonal relationships at Baltimore and increasing age and more positive perceptions of meaning and purpose in life at New York. Significance of results: The data presented suggest the importance of assessing clients' history of and current need for mental health services. Evidence of a relationship between positive perceptions of meaning and purpose and better psychological function underscores the importance of existential issues for the overall well-being of those who are seriously ill.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)125-138
Number of pages14
JournalPalliative and Supportive Care
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2004


  • HIV
  • Mental health
  • Palliative care
  • Supportive care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Nursing
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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