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Title:HIV prevention communication in families affected by HIV/AIDS
Author(s):Edwards, Laura L.
Director of Research:Reis, Janet M.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Reis, Janet M.
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Alston, Reginald J.; Gilman Aronson, Sari; Mulhall, Peter F.
Department / Program:Kinesiology & Community Health
Discipline:Community Health
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):parent-adolescent sexual communication
HIV prevention
HIV disclosure
HIV-positive parents
mixed method
Abstract:Introduction: Parents have been considered an underutilized resource for educating children about HIV prevention. Parents and other family members can play a critical role in prevention efforts by using effective parenting practices, communicating their values and expectations, and modeling strategies that reduce the risk of acquiring HIV. Despite the potential protective role of parent-child communication on adolescent sexual and drug use behavior, much remains unknown about the processes and contexts in which these communication encounters occur. Methods: This study examined parent-adolescent communication about HIV prevention in families affected by HIV. Specifically, the project used a mixed method approach to identify the strategies parents living with HIV/AIDS use to discuss HIV prevention with their 10-18 year old uninfected adolescents. Whereas in-depth interviews shed light on what motivates and/or prevents parents from discussing HIV prevention with adolescents, a questionnaire was used to collect information on theoretical concepts previously identified as important to health behavior and health communication research. Overall, the major aims of this project were as follows: 1) to identify facilitators and barriers to talking about HIV prevention in a family context, particularly those that may be unique to families affected by HIV/AIDS, 2) to describe the strategies parents living with HIV/AIDS use to communicate about HIV prevention, and 3) to compare parents’ perceived effectiveness of those strategies to what current health behavior research deems effective parent-adolescent communication. Results: Parents reported frequent conversations about HIV-related topics, but also faced a number of barriers when deciding whether or not to talk and how much information to discuss with adolescents. Parents who reported lower levels of HIV disclosure were less likely to communicate about HIV prevention with their children in bivariate analyses, however this association did not remain significant in multivariate analyses. Parents who reported higher levels of HIV-related stress were more likely to report using passive strategies to discuss prevention information (in both bivariate and multivariate analyses). Overall, parents indicated a great need and desire for social and professional support when engaging in prevention conversations, emphasizing the important role of HIV care teams and support programs in providing parents with effective communication training. Conclusion: This project identifies ways to better support parents with HIV/AIDS in their efforts to communicate with adolescents about safer sex, drug use, and HIV infection. Findings from this study are applicable to researchers and practitioners involved in HIV prevention and/or management of HIV disease. Results suggest that parents with HIV do experience unique barriers to parent-adolescent communication, but that existing HIV prevention programs could be tailored to meet the needs of these families with relatively modest effort. Future studies with larger sample sizes are needed to replicate the quantitative aspects of these findings.
Issue Date:2012-09-18
Rights Information:Copyright 2012 Laura Edwards
Date Available in IDEALS:2012-09-18
Date Deposited:2012-08

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