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Publication Date


Document Type



School for Social Work


African American mothers-Psychology, HIV-positive women-Family relationships, HIV (Virus)-Psychological aspects, Children of AIDS patients, Parent and teenager, Mother and child, Stigma (Social psychology), Self-disclosure, HIV, Disclosure, Mothers, Stigma, HIV-positive women-Psychology


Utilizing pre-existing quantitative and qualitative data from a sample of twenty-seven African American mother/adolescent dyads this study examined the process of maternal HIV disclosure as well as mother/adolescent communication regarding mothers' illness and its relationship to mothers' experience of HIV related stigma, psychological distress, illness severity and mother/adolescent reports of child functioning. Post-study interviews were conducted with forty percent of the mothers (N=10) who participated in the primary study to examine how mothers' perceive the process of maternal HIV disclosure over time. Quantitative results demonstrated moderate to modest correlations between mothers' experience of HIV related stigma, psychological distress, mothers' perceptions of adolescents' problem behaviors and mothers' perceptions of ongoing HIV communication with their adolescents. Qualitative results revealed that the initial disclosure event is an affective and concrete process related to: (a) mothers' experience prior to disclosure; (b) motivation for disclosure; (c) disclosure information; (d) mother's perception of teens' reaction to disclosure, and (e) mothers' experience after disclosure. Post-study results highlight how the process of maternal HIV disclosure evolves overtime, and the persistent nature and influence of HIV related stigma, specifically perceived stigma, in mothers' requests during the initial disclosure event and over time that their diagnosis be kept secret.




v, 190 p. Dissertation (Ph.D)--Smith College School for Social Work, 2013. Includes bibliographical references (p. 129-150)