Two studies examined the influence of HIV+ individual’s expression of distress on perceivers’ emotional and behavioral reactions. In Study 1 (N = 224), HIV+ individuals’ expression of distress was experimentally manipulated by means of vignettes. Men and women reacted differently when persons with HIV conveyed distress: women reported stronger feelings of pity, whereas men reported stronger feelings of anger. Study 2 (N = 136) replicated this study in a realistic experimental setting with additional behavioral measures. Similarly, women reported stronger pro-social behavior than men when confronted with a person with HIV who conveyed distress. Results of the present study shed additional light to the self-presentational dilemma of ill persons. Conveying moderate levels of distress may evoke prosocial responses in women, but not in men.

, , , , , ,
Psychology & Health
Department of Psychology

Bos, A., Dijker, A., & Koomen, W. (2007). Sex Differences in Emotional and Behavioral Responses to HIV+ individuals’ Expression of Distress. Psychology & Health. Retrieved from