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The Impact of Teachers’ HIV Stigma on the School Adjustment of Children Affected by HIV/AIDS: A Multilevel Study in Rural China. Traci L. Weinstein 1 , Xiaoming Li 1 , Hongfei Du 1 , Peilian Chi 1 , Junfeng Zhao 2 , Guoxiang Zhao 2 , & Shan Qiao 1

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The Impact of Teachers’ HIV Stigma on the School Adjustment of Children Affected by HIV/AIDS: A Multilevel Study in Rural China

Traci L. Weinstein1, XiaomingLi1, HongfeiDu1, PeilianChi1, JunfengZhao2, GuoxiangZhao2, & Shan Qiao1

1 Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan, USA

2Henan University, Kaifeng, Henan, China

  • Educational success has been found to be a main indicator of individual well-being for diverse student group
  • School adjustment is an essential component of school success, and is especially important for children who have parents affected by HIV
  • Little research to date has examined the impact of teacher attitudes on the school adjustment of these children
  • Thus, the purpose of the current study is to examine the hypothesis that teachers’ HIV stigma will be related to the school adjustment of children affected by HIV/AIDS in rural China
  • Data came from a study of multi-systemic impacts on the psychosocial and educational needs of children affected by HIV conducted in rural China
  • The sample consisted of 247 children affected by HIV (119 girls) and 43 teachers
    • Of the 247 children:
      • 121 children were living with HIV-positive parents
      • 126 children had lost parents to the disease
    • The average age of children was 12.22 years (SD = 2.19)
  • Children completed an assessment inventory of demographic information
    • Gender, age, and various school outcome measures
  • Teachers completed a 10-item HIV stigma questionnaire about their own attitudes towards children affected by HIV
    • Should these children quit school?
    • Should these children play with other children?
    • Do these children deserve sympathy?
    • Are these children unclean?
  • Multilevel analyses using hierarchical linear modeling
  • Findings indicate that teacher HIV stigma predicted children’s self-reported school adjustment
  • Higher teacher stigma was related to worse child school adjustment
  • Age and gender of children were not significant variables for this sample
  • The findings suggest that teacher attitudes are an important factor that impacts the school adjustment of children affected by HIV
  • Services targeting children affected by HIV should consider risk factors in the school context
  • Interventions for children affected by HIV/AIDS should specifically target the attitudes of teachers working with these students
  • This study holds implications for prevention and intervention efforts for children with HIV-affected parents