The purpose of this 12-year longitudinal study was to assess the effects of maternal HIV/AIDS on child/adolescent well-being and behavioral outcomes, extending an earlier published account.
Interviews were conducted with 66 pairs of healthy children and their mothers living with HIV/AIDS (MLH), who are participants in the Parents And children Coping Together (PACT) project begun in 1997. All study participants were English or Spanish speaking. About half (48.5%) of the youth were female. Maternal health status (e.g., viral load biomedical marker, illness symptoms, physical functioning and depression) and child/adolescent outcomes (e.g., depression, anxiety/worry, aggression, and self-concept) were assessed over 16 time-points.
Using growth curve modeling, results show a negative effect of maternal health status on child/adolescent outcomes, including child/adolescent depression, anxiety/worry, aggression, and self-concept. Interaction effects within the growth models suggest younger children are more impacted by poor maternal health than are older children/adolescents.
This is the first study to follow a cohort of children of MLH over such an extended age range, through late adolescence/early adulthood, to determine the impact of maternal health status throughout the entire developmental period.