Emotional and Cognitive Development of Adolescent Offspring with HIV Infected Mothers: A Longitudinal Study in South Africa

Project Details


Maternal mental health disorders are associated with substantial risk to offspring. Understanding this risk has been the focus of my research to date. As part of my EBI early career fellowship I joint first authored a review of this literature for the Lancet. It was clear that the vast majority of data has come from in high income (HIC) settings. However, the limited number of studies in Low and middle income (LAMIC) countries suggests that risks to the child are amplified in these settings. This is possibly due to the impact of additional adversities (such as physical health conditions i.e., HIV) or the lack of resources which in HIC seem to buffer negative effects on the child. It is therefore of importance to increase research in LAMIC.

Through links with Professor Alan Stein in Oxford University , I have become involved in several studies in South Africa including advising the potential collaborator here (Dr Rochat) in her analysis of maternal and offspring mental health data. These particular data involve two longitudinal prospective cohorts, which together enrolled 1535 mothers, 906 from the Vertical Transmission Study (VTS)and 629 from the Africa Centre Demographic Surveillance System (DSS). Mothers were diagnosed with HIV during pregnancy (30%), post-birth (18%) or were HIV-uninfected (52%). Existing data includes child and maternal mental health and cognitive data up to child ages 7-11. Existing analysis suggests a number of important findings .

Infrastructure is in place to continue to follow up these cohorts into adolescence and Dr Rochat and colleagues plan to apply for funding to support these follow ups. We aim to collaborate in this regard and we have recently been awarded funds from the University Research Committee International Strategic Fund to support planning and designing of measures to include in the next wave of data collection and plan grant applications. I propose to visit South Africa in July 2016
Effective start/end date30/04/1630/07/16


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