Behavioral and psychological disorders in uninfected children aged 6 to 11 years born to human immunodeficiency virus-seropositive mothers

Susanna Esposito, Laura Musetti, Maria Cristina Musetti, Raffaella Tornaghi, Sonia Corbella, Emilia Massironi, Paola Marchisio, Adriana Guareschi, Nicola Principi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study investigated the behavioral and psychological differences between 39 uninfected children born to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-seropositive mothers (HIV-seroreverter [SR]) and 78 children with no family history of HIV infection. Caretakers completed the Child Behavior Checklist and the Gittelman modification of the Conners' Parent's Questionnaire, whereas children completed the Children's Manifest Anxiety Scale and the Children's Depression Inventory. In 14 SR children and 28 controls, narrative task was also evaluated. The personalities of SR children, as measured by the caretaker-completed scales, revealed significantly more problems of social adjustment and attention and more externalizing symptoms than did the personalities of control children. On the child-completed scales, SR children showed significantly more anxiety and depression than did controls. Caretakers reported consistently fewer symptoms of anxiety and depression in the children than did the children themselves. Difficulties in verbal recall included aspects of depressive and anxious feelings; on the narrative task measure, SR children showed poorer skill in free verbal recall than did control children, and they simplified episodes with mixed emotions. In addition, ambiguous episodes elicited significantly more negative feelings in SR children than in controls. These findings show that there is a great necessity for assisting SR children. It will be important to determine whether these children will remain at risk for emotional consequences in their adult lives. J Dev Behav Pediatr 20:411-417, 1999. Index terms: HIV, AIDS orphans, behavioral problems, psychopathology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)411-417
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Psychology(all)
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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