Methods: Results presented in this paper draw from a larger randomized controlled trial of an intervention with mothers living with HIV. The ongoing trial is examining the efficacy of an intervention designed to assist maternal disclosure of HIV. Before and after intervention implementation, trained interviewers meet with mothers and their children in the families’ homes to conduct structured interviews in either Spanish or English. Mothers and children are assessed separately, and only baseline data are considered in the current study.
Results: Mother report of disclosure self-efficacy was associated with child report of depressive symptoms (r = -0.25) and worry (r = -0.36), such that lower efficacy correlated with more symptoms. Mothers with low efficacy for disclosure also reported lower family cohesion (r = 0.26). Additional analyses will more thoroughly examine these relations prior to the conference presentation.
Conclusions: Regardless of whether she intends to disclose imminently, a mother who feels unprepared to disclose may avoid engaging in a variety of conversations with her children for fear of being asked about her health. Avoidance, coupled with maternal anxiety around disclosure, may negatively impact family and child functioning. Results suggest that enhancing mothers’ self-efficacy to disclose her HIV status to children may be protective for family and child functioning.