Perceived social support and psychosocial distress among children affected by AIDS in china

Community Ment Health J. 2010 Feb;46(1):33-43. doi: 10.1007/s10597-009-9201-z. Epub 2009 Jun 17.


The psychosocial wellbeing of the children affected by Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) receives growing international attention. However, limited data in this area are available in China, which hosts an estimate of 100,000 AIDS-orphaned children. The study aims to examine the relationship between perceived social support (PSS) and psychosocial wellbeing among children affected by AIDS. A cross-sectional survey was administered to 1,625 children (aged 6-18 years) in Henan Province, an area with a large number of HIV cases due to unhygienic commercial blood/plasma collection. Our sample included 296 double orphans (i.e., children who lost both parents to AIDS), 459 single orphans (children who lost one parent to AIDS), 466 vulnerable children (children living with HIV-infected parents) and 404 comparison children (children who did not experience HIV-related illness and death in family). Data suggest that vulnerable children reported the lowest level of PSS compared to AIDS orphans and comparison children. Level of PSS was significantly and positively associated with psychosocial wellbeing even after controlling for potential confounders. The study underscores the importance of providing social support and mental health services for children affected by AIDS in China.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / epidemiology
  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / ethnology*
  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / psychology*
  • Adolescent
  • Age Factors
  • Child
  • Child of Impaired Parents / psychology
  • Child of Impaired Parents / statistics & numerical data
  • Child, Orphaned / psychology*
  • Child, Orphaned / statistics & numerical data*
  • China
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Depressive Disorder / epidemiology
  • Depressive Disorder / ethnology*
  • Depressive Disorder / psychology*
  • Female
  • HIV Seropositivity / ethnology*
  • HIV Seropositivity / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Loneliness / psychology
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Motivation
  • Needs Assessment / statistics & numerical data
  • Rural Population / statistics & numerical data*
  • Self Concept
  • Sex Factors
  • Social Adjustment
  • Social Support*
  • Socioeconomic Factors