Browsing Doctoral Degrees (Psychiatry) by Subject "AIDS (Disease) in women -- South Africa"
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- ItemNeurocognitive outcomes in HIV and childhood trauma(Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2011-12) Spies, Georgina; Seedat, Soraya; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. Dept. of Psychiatry.ENGLISH ABSTRACT: It is well established that South African women are disproportionately affected by HIV/AIDS and gender based violence. Research to date has provided evidence for neurocognitive decline in individuals infected with HIV/AIDS and in individuals who have experienced early life trauma. However, many gaps remain in our knowledge about the neurocognitive profile of HIV and childhood trauma in South African women. The present study focused on the neurocognitive effects of HIV infection and childhood trauma, both separately and in combination in South African women. The primary aim of the study was to assess neurocognitive functioning in HIV-positive and matched HIVnegative controls, with and without a history of childhood trauma. Moreover, the study sought to assess the synergistic relationship between HIV and childhood trauma in influencing neurocognitive outcomes, a relationship which has not yet been investigated. A neuropsychological battery sensitive to HIV-related impairments was administered to 83 HIV-positive and 47 matched HIV-negative women with histories of childhood trauma. A history of childhood trauma was assessed using the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire short form (CTQ-SF). Forty eight of the 83 HIV-positive women were exposed to childhood trauma. Among the control subjects, a total of twenty women were exposed to childhood trauma. Findings of the present study revealed neurocognitive deficits in memory and executive functions. Results demonstrated significant HIV effects in memory (HVLT-R learning and delay trials), and executive functions (Halstead Category test). Similarly, a trauma effect was evident in delayed recall (HVLT-R delay). Moreover, results revealed a significant interaction effect between HIV status and trauma status on the WAIS-III Symbol Search Task, a task of psychomotor speed. However, HIV-negative controls with a history of childhood trauma scored the highest on this task. Although this finding was unexpected, it may suggest that psychomotor speed may not be a sensitive or discriminating test of childhood trauma in healthy adults. The present study demonstrated evidence for HIV and trauma effects in the ability domains of learning and delayed recall and executive functions. Although the present study did not find evidence for a synergistic relationship between HIV and trauma, it did provide evidence for both HIV and trauma effects on neurocognition, a finding in keeping with previous studies. Future research should be prospective in nature and should better delineate the nature, severity, and temporal relationship of childhood trauma to neurocognitive outcomes, as well as the mediators and moderators of these outcomes.