Faculty Publications

Publication Date



Maternal and Child Health


Parentification, along with parenting and child adjustment were examined in 23 9-through 16-year-old youth from families affected by maternal HIV infection and 20 same-age peers whose mothers were not infected. Children whose mothers were HIV-positive reported to more often engage in parental role behaviors, relative to children of HIV-negative mothers. This difference remained even after controlling for the effects of current drug use, number of adults per child in the household, and marital status. Findings revealed a beneficial relationship between parentification and both child adjustment and parenting, particularly among families affected by maternal HIV infection. When relationships were examined separately by HIV status, the pattern of results suggested that parentification, which involves increased emotional closeness, rather than role-related tasks, which may involve increased responsibility of household maintenance, seems to foster an association with concurrent positive parenting and child adjustment among families coping with HIV/AIDS. Directions for future research, including the need for methodological advances in the field are discussed.

Document Type

Accepted Version


This article is the author-created version that incorporates referee comments. It is the accepted-for-publication version. The content of this version may be identical to the published version (the version of record) save for value-added elements provided by the publisher (e.g., copy editing, layout changes, or branding consistent with the rest of the publication).


The final publication is available at http://www.springerlink.com

Original Citation

Tanya L. Tompkins
Parentification and maternal HIV infection: Beneficial role or pathological burden?
Journal of Child and Family Studies, 2007, volume 16, issue 1, pages 108-118



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