Language, memory, and cognitive performance in minority children infected with HIV

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

First Committee Member

Daniel Messinger - Committee Chair

Second Committee Member

F. Daniel Armstrong - Committee Member


Developmental disabilities in language functioning have been consistently documented in children infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Minorities make up 80% of children infected with HIV but are underrepresented in published research on language functioning. In an attempt to address this under-studied area, this study investigated the impact of HIV infection on language functioning in school-aged minority children. Seventy school-aged minority children infected with HIV were compared to sixty-two uninfected siblings and peers on measures of receptive and expressive vocabulary, verbal short-term memory, and global cognitive functioning. The two groups did not differ significantly on any of these measures. Infected children also did not differ significantly from each other on these measures when categorized by severity of immunosupression. These results suggest that language delays observed in this population are not related to HIV infection, but to poor environments and presumptively, poor environmental stimulation and opportunities for developing skills.


Language, Linguistics; Psychology, Developmental; Psychology, Cognitive

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