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Health Promotion Projects on Mental Health

A randomized controlled study to evaluate the efficacy of a positive psychology and social networking intervention in reducing depressive symptoms among HIV-infected men who have sex with men in China

The proposed randomized control trial will randomly allocate HIV+MSM in Chengdu to the intervention group (TGT-SN) (N=110) or the control group (N=110). Online surveys will be administered to all participants at baseline, at the end of the 1-month intervention, and at the 3-month post-intervention follow-up. The intervention will be delivered via ‘QQ’, the most widely used Chinese instant messaging and social networking tool which has been used by over 85% of the MSM in Chengdu. New QQ accounts will be created and be used exclusively for this study. Participants of the intervention group will be divided into eight support groups, each with about 15 members. Participants will post three things they experienced that they feel grateful about daily onto the platform and share it with members of their group; they will also read others’ messages and give positive and encouraging feedbacks to those messages. Non-identifying photos may also be posed optionally. Members of the control group will receive emails with mental health promotion messages. The primary mental health outcome is depressive symptoms. Secondary psychological outcomes include anxiety, positive affect, life satisfaction, subjective happiness, gratitude level, perceived social support, unprotected anal sex, service utilization, and self-care activities. Both absolute and relative risk reduction will be reported; GEE models will be fit.


The novel intervention combines the Three Good Things approach with electronic social networking. It can be delivered at virtually no cost with a large coverage and is hence potentially sustainable and scalable to fill an important gap in resource-limited settings such as China.

Funded by Center for AIDS Research International Development Fund


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