Community Mental Health Journal

, Volume 46, Issue 1, pp 33–43 | Cite as

Perceived Social Support and Psychosocial Distress Among Children Affected by AIDS in China

  • Yan Hong
  • Xiaoming Li
  • Xiaoyi Fang
  • Guoxiang Zhao
  • Xiuyun Lin
  • Jintao Zhang
  • Junfeng Zhao
  • Liying Zhang
Original Paper


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.


HIV/AIDS Orphans Vulnerable children Perceived social support Psychosocial wellbeing China 



This study was sponsored by the National Institute of Mental Health and National Institute of Nursing Research (R01MH76488). The content is solely responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institute of Mental Health and National Institute of Nursing Research. The authors wish to thank other members of the investigation team including Douglas Barnett, Ph.D., Yunfei Lv, Ph.D., Kathryn Meert, M.D., Sylvie Naar-King, Ph.D., and Bonita Stanton, M.D.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yan Hong
    • 1
  • Xiaoming Li
    • 2
  • Xiaoyi Fang
    • 3
  • Guoxiang Zhao
    • 4
  • Xiuyun Lin
    • 3
  • Jintao Zhang
    • 5
  • Junfeng Zhao
    • 4
  • Liying Zhang
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Social and Behavioral Health, School of Rural Public HealthTexas A&M University System Health Science CenterCollege StationUSA
  2. 2.Carman and Ann Adams Department of PediatricsWayne State University School of MedicineDetroitUSA
  3. 3.School of PsychologyBeijing Normal UniversityBeijingChina
  4. 4.Department of PsychologyHenan UniversityKaifengChina
  5. 5.State Key Laboratory of Cognitive Neuroscience and LearningBeijing Normal UniversityBeijingChina

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