Date of Award

7-27-2007

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Psychology

Committee Chair

Sydney Ey, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Jay C. Thomas, Ph.D., ABPP

Abstract

There is an increasing need to understand the effects of living with HIV or AIDS among adolescent youth as the virus impacts individuals of all ages as well as families. In particular, HIV/AIDS still carries such a stigma in the US that many families may choose not to ten their children and adolescents about the parent's illness until the illness becomes more severe. Furthermore, family members maybe prohibited from speaking with others outside of the immediate family due to the potential for stigma. The purpose of the present study was to determine whether or not a relationship exists between the amount of parental disclosure both within and outside of the home and education about HIV/AIDS on adolescents' optimism and reported quality of relationships Participants included six youth age 11 to 18 recruited from a Iocal agency dedicated to serving families affected by HIV/AIDS. Results indicated that parental disclosure to their teens about HIV/AIDS at tune 3 were significantly and negatively correlated with adolescent pessimism. This finding indicates that more disclosure or discussion about HIV/AIDS is associated with less adolescent pessimism. Additionally, there was a positive relationship between disclosure scores at time land relationship to female peers that approached significance, indicating that as parental disclosure increases, the perceived quality of relationships to female peers also increases. Implications for intervention and future research are discussed.

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