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Title: "It's good to reflect on where you've come from, what you'd been through and hopefully where you're going" : exploring Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) for persons living with HIV in Northern Ireland
Author: Rooney, Sinéad Aine
ISNI:       0000 0004 6060 2185
Awarding Body: Queen's University Belfast
Current Institution: Queen's University Belfast
Date of Award: 2016
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The current research aimed to develop an understanding of the psychological experience of living with a chronic sexually transmitted infection (STI) in Northern Ireland (Nl). Qualitative methodology was applied to: elucidate an awareness of the cultural context in relation to attitudes towards sex and sexual health in Nl; gain an understanding of the challenges affecting persons living with HIV (PLWH) in Nl; and, provide information on the experience of participation in an Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)-based intervention designed to promote psychological flexibility among PLWH in Nl. Attitudes towards sex and sexual health in Nl were found to be informed by sex education, sexual knowledge and in the portrayal of sexual behaviour, among focus groups held with students who were engaging in a university-based sexual health promotion project. Stigma and a detected silence surrounding discussion of sexual behaviour and STIs, was believed to result in future challenges for those diagnosed with chronic, sexually acquired infections in Nl. Focus groups held among PLWH in Nl evidenced the complexity and cohesion of psychological implications and called for the development of a targeted intervention to support and facilitate adjustment to an HIV positive status. An ACT rationale demonstrated the effectiveness of this approach among other health and psychological difficulties and highlighted limited prior application of the model among PLWH. The experience of an introduction to ACT among support groups promoted the development of an individualised ACT-based intervention which would afford time to share the personal experience of HIV and would offer an opportunity to establish values and committed actions. Eight HIV positive males participated in six weekly individual ACT sessions. Outcomes demonstrated the efficacy of ACT in supporting HIV positive men in Nl and future directions recommend further application of the model to evaluate its effectiveness in promoting psychological flexibility among PLWH.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available