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Alana Clayon, MS1, Frances Palin, MA1, Lisa Armistead, PhD1, Bethany Ketchen, MA1, Gretchen Lindner, MA1, and Penny Kokot-Louw, MS2. (1) Psychology, Georgia State University, PO Box 5010, University Plaza, Atlanta, GA 30303, 404.651.3270, firstname.lastname@example.org, (2) Psychology, Univeristy of Pretoria, Psychology Department, Pretoria, 0002, South Africa
Although South Africa has a high rate of HIV, there is limited research examining the decisions around disclosure of maternal HIV status and its effect on South African children.
The aims of this study were to examine: 1) factors involved in mothers' disclosure decisions their HIV status to their children; 2) children's reactions to disclosure; and 3) whether family context variables (i.e. quality of family relationships) interact with disclosure to affect children's functioning.
Black South African mothers living with HIV (MLWH), and who were the primary caregivers of a child between the ages of 11 and 16, were interviewed in their preferred language.
Forty-four percent of mothers had disclosed, and children's reactions to disclosure were most frequently sadness and worry. Marital status was the only predictor of disclosure. Widows were more likely than single caregivers to disclose. Mothers who had not disclosed were most concerned about internalizing child behaviors resulting from disclosure. Disclosure predicted externalizing but not internalizing behaviors. Low mother-co-caregiver conflict predicted fewer internalizing behaviors, and better parent-child relationships predicted fewer internalizing and externalizing behaviors.
Widows may be more inclined to disclose because they are better able to predict child reactions to parental loss, and, thus are more confident in their ability to help the child cope. Interestingly, mothers' concerns about the potential impact of disclosure (internalizing problems) were not what mothers who had disclosed reported observing in their children (externalizing problems). This study highlights the complexity of disclosure-related decisions, including the importance of addressing the family context.
Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Any relevant financial relationships? No
The 134th Annual Meeting & Exposition (November 4-8, 2006) of APHA