Parental Drug Use and the Socialization of AIDS Knowledge and Attitudes in Children

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Children aged 6 to 18 who had a parent enrolled in drug treatment were matched on the child's age, sex, and ethnicity and on the parent's level of education with children from a community sample. They were compared with respect to parents' knowledge of HIV transmission, parents' efforts to teach their children (ages 6 to 18) about HIV and AIDS, and children's knowledge and attitudes regarding AIDS. Children of drug-abusing parents had more direct and indirect experience with people affected by AIDS than other children, and they demonstrated more knowledge of HIV transmission, once other variables were controlled. Overall, however, few group differences in parents' knowledge and socialization efforts or in children's AIDS-related knowledge and attitudes were observed. Although children of drug abusers appear to be learning as much as other children about HIV and AIDS, they nonetheless deserve special attention as a group at risk for HIV infection.

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AIDS Education and Prevention, v. 10, issue 2, p. 180-192