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The Impact of an Adult Child's Death due to AIDS on Older-Aged Parents: Results from a Direct Interview Survey

Publication Abstract

Download PDF versionKnodel, John E., Wassana Im-em, Chanpen Saengtienchai, Mark VanLandingham, and Jiraporn Kespichayawattana. 2002. "The Impact of an Adult Child's Death due to AIDS on Older-Aged Parents: Results from a Direct Interview Survey." PSC Research Report No. 02-498. April 2002.

The present report describes the methodology and findings of a direct interview survey in Thailand of parents of deceased adult children who died of AIDS and a comparison group of older age parents who had not suffered such a loss. The results provide extensive information on living arrangements; parental caregivng; health Impacts; spouses and orphaned children; care, treatment and funeral expense; longer term economic impacts; and community reaction. The detailed results of our survey show considerable diversity in the extent parents are impacted. Clearly personal caregiving and instrumental assistance by parents, especially the mother, can be very demanding. Even when a parent is a main caregiver, other family members, particularly other adult children, often assist the parental caregiver. Parents also often serve as critical links between their ill adult child and the health care system. Care giving often takes a toll on the emotional and physical health of the parental caregiver at the time care is being provided. Only a minority of the AIDS parents had fostered grandchildren left behind by their deceased son or daughter. Overall, the loss of a child to AIDS has a serious economic impact for only a minority of AIDS parents. At the same time, the poor appear to be the most adversely affected. Sustained social stigma directed at parents of persons who died of AIDS is far from universal in Thailand at present. Sympathetic and supportive reactions from others in the community are more frequently reported than negative ones.

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