Thesis Defense Announcement

College of Arts and Sciences announces the Final Thesis Defense of

Jessica Mandell

for the Degree of Master of Science

April 4, 2019 at 9:00 AM in Psychology Building, Room 357

Advisor: Idia Thurston

Social support for mothers living with HIV: A person-environment interaction approach

ABSTRACT: Mothers living with HIV are vulnerable to both stressors associated with motherhood and living with a chronic illness. Strong social support has been associated with improved adherence to Antiretroviral Therapy, and thus social support may contribute to secondary HIV prevention in this population (Dalmida et al., 2017). Support systems of mothers living with HIV are disproportionately comprised of their children; however, research has primarily focused on women's disclosure of their HIV status to their supportive networks, with limited work exploring other aspects of family social support. Guided by the person-environment interaction model, the current study explored associations between familial social support and personal, relational, and environmental factors among mothers living with HIV. Participants included 57 mothers living with HIV who were primary caregivers of children aged 6-14. Mothers were recruited from community sites serving individuals living with HIV in the US MidSouth. Participants were interviewed using validated measures. A three-step hierarchical multiple linear regression was conducted to predict mothers' familial social support (Lubben Social Network Scale – Revised, Family Subscale) from mothers' spirituality (Daily Spirituality Experience Scale), depressive symptoms (Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale), positive and negative parenting practices (Alabama Parenting Questionnaire, Positive and Negative Scales), social support from friends (Lubben Social Network Scale – Revised, Friend Subscale), and community cohesion (Community Cohesion Scale). The final regression model was significant, F(6, 55) = 6.63, p = .003, Adj. R^2 = 42.4%, with greater positive parenting (Beta = .24, p = .03), less negative parenting (Beta = -.28, p = .02), and greater community cohesion (Beta = .35, p = .01) significantly associated with higher familial social support. Study findings highlight the importance of relational and environmental determinants of familial social support and suggest potential avenues for promoting social support among mothers living with HIV.