Social support for mothers living with HIV: A pilot investigation of the beneficial roles of positive parenting and community cohesion


Mothers Living with HIV (MLH) are vulnerable to stressors associated with motherhood and chronic illness. Strong familial support is related to decreased risk for developing mental and physical health problems. While support systems of MLH are disproportionately comprised of their children, research on social support of MLH has primarily focused on HIV status disclosure to supportive networks, with limited work exploring other aspects of family social support. The current pilot study explored associations between familial social support and personal (spirituality, depressive symptoms), relational (parenting practices), and environmental (friend support, community cohesion) factors among 55 MLH. A three-step hierarchical regression model was examined and showed that greater positive parenting, less negative parenting, and greater community cohesion were significantly associated with higher familial social support. Findings highlight the importance of relational and environmental determinants of social support and suggest potential avenues for prevention and intervention among MLH.

Publication Title

Journal of HIV/AIDS and Social Services