AIDS and Behavior

, Volume 16, Issue 8, pp 2198–2208

Predicting Depression in Mothers With and Without HIV: The Role of Social Support and Family Dynamics

  • Typhanye Penniman Dyer
  • Judith A. Stein
  • Eric Rice
  • Mary Jane Rotheram-Borus
Original Paper


Many women with HIV are primary caregivers for their children. Social factors, including family dynamics, play a major role in women’s depression. We hypothesized an impact of HIV seropositivity on greater depression mediated through poorer family functioning and social support. Participants include 332 Mothers Living with HIV (MLH) and 200 Neighborhood Control Mothers (NCM) recruited in Los Angeles County. The NCM were matched by neighborhood. All had children ages 6 through 20. Analyses using structural equation modeling (SEM) indicated HIV seropositivity was positively correlated with depression and negatively correlated with positive social support and effective family functioning. In a predictive path model, the relationship between having HIV and depressed mood was mediated by social support and family functioning. Findings offer explanation for increased depression resulting from HIV and social and family dynamics, and suggest innovative interventions to abate psychosocial health problems and lower risk for depression among women with HIV.


Depression Family dynamics Social support HIV+ mothers 


Muchas mujeres con VIH son las cuidadoras primarias de sus hijos. Los factores sociales, incluyendo la dinámica familiar, juega un rol importante en la depresión de las mujeres. La hipótesis es que habrá un impacto de la seropositividad d al VIH a un mayor grado de depresión mediada por el mal funcionamiento familiar y el apoyo social. Las participantes incluyen 332 madres viviendo con el VIH (MLH por sus siglas en inglés) y 200 madres de Control de Vecindarios (NCM por sus siglas en inglés) reclutadas en Los Ángeles. Las NCM fueron emparejadas por vecindad. Todas tenían niños entre las edades de 6 a 20 años. Análisis con modelos de ecuaciones estructurales (SEM por sus siglas en inglés) indicaron que el seropositividad de VIH se correlacionó positivamente con la depresión y se correlación negativamente con el apoyo social positivo y funcionamiento efectivo de la familia. En un modelo de camino predictivo, la relación entre tener VIH y un estado de ánimo depresivo estaba mediada por el apoyo social y el funcionamiento familiar. Los hallazgos ofrecen una explicación para el aumento de la depresión como resultado de tener VIH y por las dinámicas sociales y familiares, y siguieren intervenciones innovadoras para mitigar los problemas psicosociales de la salud y disminuir el riesgo de depresión entre las mujeres con el VIH.

Palabras clave

Depresión La dinámica familiar Apoyo social Las madres VIH + 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Typhanye Penniman Dyer
    • 1
  • Judith A. Stein
    • 2
  • Eric Rice
    • 3
  • Mary Jane Rotheram-Borus
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Public HealthUniversity of MarylandCollege ParkUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUCLALos AngelesUSA
  3. 3.School of Social WorkUniversity of Southern CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA
  4. 4.Center for Community HealthUCLA Semel InstituteLos AngelesUSA

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