Journal: AIDS Behavior
Date: September 2012
This review examines the global literature regarding the impact of parental HIV/AIDS on children’s psychological well-being. Fifty one articles reporting quantitative data from a total of 30 studies were retrieved and reviewed. Findings were mixed but tended to show that AIDS orphans and vulnerable children had poorer psychological well-being in comparison with children from HIV-free families or children orphaned by other causes. Limited longitudinal studies suggested a negative effect of parental HIV on children’s psychological well-being in an early stage of parental HIV-related illness and such effects persisted through the course of parental illness and after parental death. HIV-related stressful life events, stigma, and poverty were risk factors that might aggravate the negative impact of parental HIV/AIDS on children. Individual coping skills, trusting relationship with caregivers and social support were suggested to protect children against the negative effects of parental HIV/AIDS. This review underlines the vulnerability of children affected by HIV/AIDS. Culturally and developmentally appropriate evidence-based interventions are urgently needed to promote the psychological well-being of children affected by HIV/AIDS.