The Neurocognitive Implications of Depression and Socioeconomic Status in People Living with HIV

Kaleigh E Fidaleo, Fordham University


Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and depression, both associated with neurocognitive impairments, are highly co-morbid and burdensome diseases. Among people living with HIV (PLWH), those with co-morbid depression are evidenced to experience worse clinical outcomes, worse every day functioning, and worse medication adherence. Further, HIV is disproportionately concentrated in impoverished communities, therefore touching the lives of individuals already at a heightened risk for depression as well as those most heavily influenced by health disparities. This is detrimental, as low socioeconomic status (SES) is also associated with impaired neurocognition amongst PLWH. The current study fills a gap in the literature by investigating the interactive effects and individual predictive power of depression and SES on neurocognition in PLWH. The sample of 119 PLWH (71% Latinx, 27% female) completed neurocognitive and psychosocial evaluations and were separated into two groups: those with lifetime depression and those without. The results indicated that lifetime depression was not associated with lower SES (p =.09) nor was it associated with worse neurocognitive performance in any of the seven domains. The neurocognitive domains of learning (p < .001) and memory (p < .001) were significantly positively correlated with SES such that lower SES was associated with worse performance in these domains. Lastly, depression significantly moderated the relationship between SES and attention/working memory performance (β = .98, SE = .11, p = .001) to indicate that higher SES has a protective value over this domain in PLWH only if they have co-morbid depression. Therefore, depression and SES appear to play an important role in the neurocognitive performance of PLWH and future research should continue to dedicate efforts to further elucidating the semantics of these relationships.

Subject Area

Clinical psychology|Experimental psychology

Recommended Citation

Fidaleo, Kaleigh E, "The Neurocognitive Implications of Depression and Socioeconomic Status in People Living with HIV" (2021). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI28717286.