Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

William Drew Gouvier


The literature on neuropsychological functioning in patients with asymptomatic HIV disease is widely discrepant with prominent researchers on either side of the debate about whether or not early HIV infection is associated with neuropsychological deficits. Many theories have been put forth to account for these varied results, including inadequate study design, lack of measures sensitive enough to detect differences, and pooling of test scores across individuals that do have deficits, but not necessarily in the same areas. The present investigation was designed to examine the role of anxiety as a possible confounding variable that could account for differences across HIV serostatus groups. It also investigated the hypothesis that HIV seropositive and HIV seronegative patients differ in terms of their appraisals of their performance and that higher levels of anxiety are related to lowered estimation of performance. The HIV seropositive and HIV seronegative groups in this investigation did not differ in terms of their neurocognitive functioning. When the groups were further divided in terms of their anxiety level, again there were no differences in their neurocognitive functioning. The investigation therefore failed to identify anxiety as a contributor to neuropsychological dysfunction in HIV seropositive subjects, however, given the lack of HIV group differences in neurocognitive functioning, it did not rule out a potential role for anxiety either. Further, there was no difference between the groups divided based on HIV serostatus and anxiety level in terms of their ability to accurately appraise their performance. All participants were able to estimate their performances very accurately. Finally, medication effects were investigated. There were no differences in performance on neuropsychological tests found between the HIV seropositive subjects who followed a medication regimen and those who did not.