HIV is a family disease. Family research in HIV is challenging because of complexities of family measurement, the range of family constellations across cultures, and the issues specific to HIV-affected families. A Consortium of NIMH-funded investigators is conducting HIV research on families - defined as networks of mutual commitments. A procedure for identifying the "family" is proposed. This article reviews assessment strategies from two research traditions, both of which have been greatly concerned with social context: family assessment tradition - family membership, parenting, and interactional dynamics; HIV/AIDS research tradition - HIV-relevant constructs generalized to minority families. Initially, a systematic procedure for defining family membership is provided. Constructs and measures derived from the family assessment tradition are described, including self-report and observational procedures. Constructs and measures of relevance to family research that originated in the HIV/AIDS research tradition are described: HIV knowledge, stigma, disclosure, and social support. Constructs presented derive from the Consortium's research on the role of families in prevention and adaptation to HIV/AIDS. Most of the research conducted by the Consortium has taken place with inner-city, minority, heterosexual families. By informing the selection of constructs and measures relevant to investigating the role of families in HIV prevention, and adaptation to living with HIV/AIDS, it is the Consortium's intention to enhance the quality and quantity of research at the intersection of families and HIV/AIDS.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Psychology
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Infectious Diseases