Early and Middle Adolescents' Autonomy Development

Impact of Maternal HIV/AIDS

Published in: Clinical child psychology and psychiatry, v. 13, no. 2, Apr. 2008, p. 253-276

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2008

by Debra A. Murphy, Lisa Greenwell, Judith Resell, Mary-Lynn Brecht, Mark A. Schuster

Progression toward autonomy is considered of central importance during the adolescent period. For young adolescents with an HIV-infected parent, there may be additional challenges. This study investigated current autonomy among early and middle adolescents affected by maternal HIV (N = 108), as well as examined longitudinally the children's responsibility taking when they were younger (age 6-11; N = 81) in response to their mother's illness and their current autonomy as early/middle adolescents. In analyses of self-care and family autonomy, children with greater attachment to their mothers had higher autonomy, and there was a trend for children who drink or use drugs alone to have lower autonomy. In analyses of management autonomy, attachment to peers was associated with higher autonomy. Trajectory group findings indicate that those children who had taken on more responsibility for instrumental caretaking roles directly because of their mother's illness showed better autonomy development as early and middle age adolescents. Therefore, `parentification' of young children with a mother with HIV may not negatively affect later autonomy development.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation External publication series. Many RAND studies are published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, as chapters in commercial books, or as documents published by other organizations.

Our mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis is enabled through our core values of quality and objectivity and our unwavering commitment to the highest level of integrity and ethical behavior. To help ensure our research and analysis are rigorous, objective, and nonpartisan, we subject our research publications to a robust and exacting quality-assurance process; avoid both the appearance and reality of financial and other conflicts of interest through staff training, project screening, and a policy of mandatory disclosure; and pursue transparency in our research engagements through our commitment to the open publication of our research findings and recommendations, disclosure of the source of funding of published research, and policies to ensure intellectual independence. For more information, visit www.rand.org/about/principles.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.