TMARC Pilot Studies - Completed

Theory of Mind & Risk Behavior in HIV Infection & METH Dependence (Cattie)

Agency: TMARC
PI: Cattie, Jordan, B.S.


Methamphetamine (MA) dependence is a major risk factor for HIV infection, and as such, these two conditions commonly co-occur. Both conditions exert preferential structural and functional injury to circuits that facilitate social cognitive processes (e.g., Theory of Mind; ToM), as well as selection of adaptive behavior. ToM or the ability to attribute mental states (e.g., intentions, beliefs, knowledge, and emotions) to others, is an important aspect of social cognition underlying the ability to perceive cues, predict behavior, and respond adaptively. These abilities serve as important inputs for decision-making. Impaired ToM in HIV and MA dependent individuals may bias choices toward reduced inhibition, immediate rewards despite later consequences, and increased transmission risk behaviors. Impaired ToM may therefore result in under-assessment of transmission risk and poorer adaptive decision-making, resulting in increased engagement in HIV transmission risk behaviors (e.g., unprotected sex). The primary aims of this developmental grant are to examine the combined effects of HIV and MA on ToM and its association with HIV transmission risk behaviors. Using a cross-sectional design, we propose to include 30 HIV+/MA+, 30 HIV+/MA-, 30 HIV-/MA+, and 30 healthy adults (HIV-/MA-), all recruited from ongoing studies at the HIV Neurobehavioral Research Program to capitalize on existing resources. ToM, decision-making, and risk measures will be added to the traditional HNRP neuropsychological, neuromedical and psychiatric assessments. Findings from this developmental grant will begin a new line of neuroAIDS research and support the principal investigator’s doctoral dissertation and NIH Postdoctoral Kirschstein NRSA Fellowship (F32) application.

Sponsored by NIH/NIDA P50DA026306

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