Caregivers' depressive symptoms and parent-report of child executive function among young children in Uganda

Itziar Familiar, Noeline Nakasujja, Judith Bass, Alla Sikorskii, Sarah M. Murray, Horacio Ruisenor-Escudero, Paul Bangirana, Robert Opoka, Michael J. Boivin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Maternal mental health (particularly depression) may influence how child behavior report. Few research has focused on sub-Saharan countries where pediatric HIV concentrates and impacts child neuropsychological development and caregiver mental health. We investigated the associations between caregivers' depressive symptoms and neuropsychological outcomes in HIV-infected (n = 118) and HIV-exposed (n = 164) Ugandan children aged 2-5 years. We compared performance-based tests of development (Mullen Scales of Early Learning, Color Object Association Test), to a caregiver report of executive function (Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function, BRIEF). Caregivers were assessed with Hopkins Symptom Checklist-25 depression subscale. The associations between all BRIEF indices and caregiver's depression symptoms were differential according to child's HIV status. Caregivers with greater depressive symptoms reported their HIV-infected children as having more behavioral problems related to executive functioning. The assessment of behavior of HIV-infected children should incorporate a variety of sources of information and screening of caregiver mental health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)17-24
Number of pages8
JournalLearning and Individual Differences
StatePublished - Feb 1 2016


  • Children
  • Depression
  • Development
  • Neuropsychological assessment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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