Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Mary Lou Kelley


The present study investigated the frequency and intensity of behavior problems exhibited by Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)-infected toddlers ages 16 to 40 months by comparing them to HIV-exposed toddlers, toddlers at risk for development delays, and healthy toddlers. The role of maternal factors, such as depression, insularity, and stress, in behavior ratings also was considered. Mothers completed a set of questionnaires and the toddlers' developmental status was assessed by a member of the research team. It was hypothesized that HIV-infected children would demonstrate a higher frequency and intensity of behavior problems than children in the three equivalent control groups. With regard to maternal factors, it was expected that mothers of HIV-infected and HIV-exposed children would endorse higher levels of depression, insularity, and stress than mothers of developmentally at-risk or healthy toddlers. Results indicated that HIV-exposed toddlers exhibited a significantly higher frequency of behavior problems than healthy control toddlers. Contrary to expectation, HIV-infected toddlers' behavior did not significantly differ from any group. HIV-infected mothers reported higher levels of depression and insularity than uninfected mothers. For HIV-infected mothers, a higher frequency of behavior problems was significantly associated only with parental stress. Overall, these data suggest that HIV-exposed toddlers, although not often a focus of research and clinical attention, represent a group of toddlers at risk for behavior problems.