Graduation Year

2015

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Ph.D.

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department

Psychological and Social Foundations

Major Professor

Kathy Bradley-Klug, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Shannon Suldo, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Tiffany Chenneville, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Jeffrey Kromrey, Ph.D.

Keywords

adolescents, HIV, physical health, social-emotional strengths, subjective well-being

Abstract

Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is a chronic health condition that is increasingly affecting both children and adolescents (Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 2011). Although many studies have investigated the impact of HIV on cognitive, physical, academic, and psychosocial functioning, little is known about the self-perception of health-related quality of life, subjective well-being, social-emotional well-being, and psychopathology risks of youth who are infected with HIV. This study is one of first to examine the presence of these positive and negative health indicators and the relationship among these factors in youth with HIV and a community-based sample.

A total of 84 youth (n=42 in each group) between 13-18 years old participated in this study. All participants completed a packet of self-report measures, which included the Pediatric Quality of Life Scale (PedsQL™ 4.0; Varni, Burwinkle, Seid, & Skarr, 2003), Student Life Satisfaction Scale (SLSS; Huebner, 1991), Positive Affect and Negative Affect Scale-Children (PANAS-C; Laurent et al., 1999), Social Emotional Assets and Resiliency Scale-Adolescent Form (SEARS-A; Merrell, 2011), and Behavioral and Emotional Screening System (BASC-2 BESS; Kamphaus & Reynolds, 2007). The data were analyzed for significant correlations, group differences, and social-emotional predictors of physical functioning and subjective well-being.

Specifically for youth with HIV, several health-related quality of life indicators were found to be positively correlated with life satisfaction and social-emotional strengths indicators, but negatively correlated with negative affect and psychopathology symptoms. Stronger, but non-significant correlation coefficients were noted for participants in the HIV group than youth in the community-based sample. In particular, stronger associations between the positive mental health indicators (i.e., subjective well-being and social emotional strengths) were observed for youth with HIV than youth in the community-based sample. Youth with HIV also reported a greater association between their subjective well-being and psychopathology when compared to youth in the community-based sample.

Additionally, there was a significant main effect of family structure on participants’ perceptions of their social functioning and psychopathology symptoms. When the differences in family structure were controlled for, the overall mean ratings of participants’ health-related quality of life, subjective well-being, social-emotional well-being, and psychopathology risks did not significantly differ between groups. Furthermore, family structure and self-rated empathy skills significantly predicted physical functioning of youth with HIV, but no significant or meaningful variables were found to predict their subjective-well being. Finally, no significant variables were found to predict the physical functioning or subjective well-being of youth in the community-based sample. The limitations of the current study, implications of findings, and directions for future research are discussed.

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