Parental HIV/AIDS and Psychosocial Adjustment among Rural Chinese Children
Journal of Pediatric Psychology,
2009, 34(10), 1053-1062. DOI: 10.1093/jpepsy/jsp006
Objective To assess the relationship between parental HIV/AIDS and psychosocial adjustment of children in rural central China. Methods Participants included 296 double AIDS orphans (children who had lost both their parents to AIDS), 459 single orphans (children who had lost one parent to AIDS), 466 vulnerable children who lived with HIV-infected parents, and 404 comparison children who did not experience HIV/AIDS-related illness and death in their families. The measures included depressive symptoms, loneliness, self-esteem, future expectations, hopefulness about the future, and perceived control over the future. Results AIDS orphans and vulnerable children consistently demonstrated poorer psychosocial adjustment than comparison children in the same community. The level of psychosocial adjustment was similar between single orphans and double orphans, but differed by care arrangement among double orphans. Conclusion The findings underscore the urgency and importance of culturally and developmentally appropriate intervention efforts targeting psychosocial problems among children affected by AIDS and call for more exploration of risk and resilience factors, both individual and contextual, affecting the psychosocial wellbeing of these children.