Psychological needs of patients with HIV disease: reviewing the literature using Nichols' (1985) Adjustment Reaction Model as a framework

Vidar Melby, Mary Murphy

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1 Citation (Scopus)


Since the first manifestations of HIV infection presented in the United Kingdom in the early 1980s, there has been a dramatic increase in the incidence of HIV infection and a proliferation of diseases associated with HIV infection. HIV infection is now associated with physical, psychological, mental and neurological conditions. Many of these conditions are serious and pose a major threat to physical and mental health, with rapid deterioration of health status necessitating multiple hospital admissions to acute hospitals. The majority of people hospitalized with HIV diseases are currently being cared for on general wards. While physical needs are often well met, psychological needs are to a certain extent neglected. The literature cites numerous cases of neglect, discrimination and threats to confidentiality by health professionals, including nurses. Such psychological needs, emanating out of hospitalization, compound existing psychological needs. Nichols' (1985) Adjustment Reaction Model describes a number of stages patients may go through during the course of their illness, and to some extent the patient's psychological needs can be traced throughout the trajectory of the disease. The purpose of this paper is to review the literature and present a theoretical argument, using Nichols' model as a framework, on psychological needs of patients with HIV diseases, and attempt to outline to what extent psychological needs of patients with HIV are met in institutional care. The authors recommend further research to determine nurses' perception of the importance of meeting psychological needs of patients with HIV disease.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)101-106
JournalJournal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 1 Apr 1999


  • Adaptation
  • Psychological
  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Attitude to Health
  • Confidentiality
  • HIV Infections/nursing/psychology
  • Health Knowledge
  • Attitudes
  • Practice
  • Humans
  • Inservice Training
  • Models
  • Nursing
  • Needs Assessment/organization & administration
  • Nursing Staff
  • Hospital/education/psychology
  • Prejudice


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