HIV-1 serostatus and the mother-infant interactions of African American women: Individual and family factors

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)



First Committee Member

Donald Routh - Committee Chair

Second Committee Member

Jose Szapocznik - Committee Member


Considered whether HIV-1 serostatus was associated with the parenting behavior of African American mothers in two separate studies. The first study proposed a model which suggested that maternal serostatus along with individual (e.g., coping behaviors) and family factors (e.g., family conflict resolution style) related to mother-infant interactions. Data were collected from African American women (43 of whom were HIV+ and 47 of whom were HIV-) and their families. Surprisingly, results suggested that maternal serostatus had little, if any, direct effect on parenting behaviors. Rather, the manner in which the family, as a whole, negotiated conflict was a stronger predictor of mother-infant interactions. Maternal serostatus appeared to indirectly influence parenting by moderating the relationship between active coping behaviors and mother-infant interactions. The second study examined whether variability within the HIV+ group, according to elapsed time since seronotification, accounted for variability in individual factors, family factors, and parenting behavior. Data from three separate groups of women (16 recently diagnosed HIV+ women, 25 HIV+ women who had been notified of their serostatus more than a year earlier, and 23 HIV- women) were considered. Although no group differences were reported, it was noted that elapsed time since seronotification moderated the relationship between active coping and parenting. Specifically whereas the determinants of parenting for newly diagnosed HIV+ mothers remained unclear, use of more active coping behaviors was associated with more optimal parenting by HIV+ mothers who had known their serostatus for longer than a year. These data highlight the importance of considering family factors and elapsed time since seronotification in tailoring interventions for HIV+ postpartum mothers.


Psychology, Social; Psychology, Clinical; Sociology, Individual and Family Studies

Link to Full Text


Link to Full Text