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Knodel, John E., and Wassana Im-em. 2004. "The Economic Consequences for Parents of Losing an Adult Child to AIDS: Evidence from Thailand." Social Science & Medicine, 29: 987-1001.
This article reports on an examination of the economic consequences for older-age Thai parents of losing an adult child to AIDS. It is based on a key informant study with staff and a direct interview survey with parents. Main findings include the following: (1) parents frequently paid for their dying child's care and treatment, but government health insurance and to a lesser extent welfare measures helped alleviate these expenses; (2) parental caregiving often disrupted household economic activity, although the resulting opportunity costs were limited by the typically short duration of caregiving; (3) parents commonly paid for funeral costs, but benefited from funeral society memberships and customary contributions from those attending; (4) about a third of the parents provided some form assistance to a dependent of their deceased child; (5) most parents had received some financial help from their AIDS-infected child prior to illness and death, but few depended on the child as a main provider (poorer parents, however, were more likely to lose a main provider and experience severe financial hardship); and (6) although poorer parents spent much less on expenses related to the illness and death of their child, they were much more likely than better-off parents to be seriously burdened by these expenses. The authors conclude that programs are needed to address the plight of AIDS parents, especially those who are most susceptible to resulting economic hardship. (The related PSC Research Report is 02-504.)