177074 Psychological distress among AIDS-orphaned children in rural China

Tuesday, October 28, 2008: 12:45 PM

Yan Hong, PhD , Department of Social and Behavioral Health, Texas A&M School of Rural Public Health, College Station, TX
Xiaoming Li , Department of Pediatrics, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI
Xiaoyi Fang , Institute of Developmental Psychology, Beijing Normal University, Beijing, China
Xiuyun Lin , School of Education, Beijing Normal University, Beijing, China
Liying Zhang , Department of Pediatrics, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI
Background: It is estimated that there are at least 100,000 AIDS orphans in China, a majority of them live in rural areas. Despite a growing concern on the impact of AIDS on the children, limited data are available on the psychological distress among the AIDS-orphaned children, particularly in comparison with non-orphaned children. The current study aims to fill out the literature gap.

Methods: A cross-sectional survey was administered among 1625 children (aged 6-18 years) in Henan Province, an area with a large number HIV cases due to unhygienic commercial blood/plasma collection. Our samples included 296 double orphans, 459 single orphans, 466 children whose parent was infected with HIV, and 404 non-affected children. Standardized scales were used to assess their psychological distress.

Results: After controlling for key socio-demographic factors, psychological distress differed significantly among the four groups. Compared to non-affected children, AIDS orphans were more likely to report higher levels of depression, loneliness, and lower levels of self-esteem, future orientation, hopefulness and control over future. In general, double orphans reported highest level of psychological distress, followed by single orphans and children with HIV-infected parents, comparing to non-affected children.

Conclusion: AIDS orphans in China are particularly vulnerable to psychological distress. More research is needed to address their psychosocial needs. We call for culturally appropriate interventions to promote mental health among these children.

Learning Objectives:
1. Understand the psychological wellbeing of children orphaned by AIDS in China. 2. Compare the psychological distress among double orphans, single orphans, children with HIV infected parents and non-affected children. 3. Explore appropriate interventions to promote mental health among the vulnerable AIDS orphans in China.

Keywords: Children and Adolescents, Mental Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a member of research team.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

See more of: HIV and Asia: Emerging Issues
See more of: HIV/AIDS