Online Program

Latina mothers living with HIV: Psychological distress and multidimensional challenges in the process of acculturation

Monday, November 4, 2013

Mee Young Um, MSW, MIS, School of Social Work, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA
Eric Rice, PhD, School of Social Work, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA
Mary Rotheram-Borus, Ph.D., Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA
Background: Immigrant women who are family caregivers living with HIV face multiple challenges. Although Latinas have been disproportionately affected by HIV, little is known about psychological distress of HIV-positive Latina mothers in the context of acculturation. Objectives of this study were to examine the associations of acculturation, HIV status, family functioning, SES, and psychological distress among Latina mothers.

Methods: 221 mothers living with HIV (MLH) were recruited from HIV/AIDS clinics and care organizations and 116 HIV-negative neighborhood control mothers (NCM) were recruited for a family-based HIV intervention study in Los Angeles, California, from January 2005 to October 2006. Acculturation was assessed by the percentage of life lived in the U.S. Psychological distress was assessed with the global score of Brief Symptom Inventory consisting of nine-symptom dimensions. An ordinary least square regression was conducted to predict psychological distress with all variables.

Results: Latinas were mostly HIV-positive (65.6%) and spent 44.7% (SD=24.1) of their lives in the U.S. Psychological distress was positively associated with acculturation (p<.001), being MLH (p<.001), and family conflict (p<.01); while it was negatively associated with having some college degree (p<.05).

Discussion: Latina MLHs experienced significantly poor family functioning, low SES, and psychological distress than NCMs. Regardless of their HIV status, Latinas expressed worsened mental health outcomes and increased family conflicts as they acculturated more to the U.S. These indicate the need for comprehensive services at health care settings for MLHs and culturally appropriate services for Latina mothers that include family members' participation to lessen acculturation gaps among them.

Learning Areas:

Chronic disease management and prevention
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Diversity and culture
Program planning
Public health or related public policy
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Identify the unique psychosocial needs of impoverished Latina mothers living with chronic illness Discuss the importance of culturally competent practice for immigrants Identify the need for making health care accessible and affordable for HIV-positive individuals

Keyword(s): Immigrant Women, HIV/AIDS

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have done research mainly on public health issues of immigrants as a PhD student. Particularly for this paper, I have worked with the co-authors who are experts in HIV/AIDS.
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.

Back to: 3311.0: Behavioral health issues