The relationship between stigma and poor mental health has been documented for people living with HIV, but limited research has been done on the role of stigma and the emotional health of children affected by HIV. This study in children orphaned or living with a parent with HIV in rural China confirmed that stigma impacts the children and that this impact increases over time as adolescents’ cognitive and social-emotional skills increase. The findings suggest that psychosocial interventions for HIV-affected children should include components that teach emotional regulation skills such as recognizing and labeling emotions, understanding emotional and physical reactions to circumstances, developing coping plans, and seeking emotional support from others.
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