Methods: Baseline data from 290 Black adult caregivers in the Collaborative HIV Prevention Adolescent Mental Health Program in South Africa (CHAMPSA; R01 MH55701). This is a family-based, HIV prevention intervention to reduce risk behaviors among uninfected SA youth. Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) was employed to explore the relationship between neighborhood disorganization on caregiver-child frequency of communication (i.e., having sex, HIV, puberty, peer pressure, alcohol use) and whether the relationship is mediated by caregiver socio-emotional well-being. Socio-emotional well-being was created as a latent variable using twelve items from the General Health Questionnaire (Goldberg, 1979) and the Global Indicator of Well-Being (Bell et al., 2006).
Results: Mediation effects were analyzed, indicated by the joint significance test (MacKinnon et al., 2002). The results pointed toward good model fit (χ2 = 0.047, df = 1, p-value < .8281; CFI = 1.00, RMSEA = .000, p-value for close fit = 0.880, standardized RMR = .001). Findings indicated that SA caregiver socio-emotional well-being does not significantly mediate the relationship between neighborhood disorganization and the frequency of communication with their child. There was a significant direct effect for neighborhood disorganization and frequency of communication. For every unit increase in neighborhood disorganization, on average, there is an associated 0.991 unit (MOE ± 0.02, CR = -.027, p < 0.001) increase in the frequency of the SA caregiver communication with their child. It also accounted for 97.3% of the variance for adult to child communication.
Implications: In light of the apparent disparities experienced by children living in South Africa, adult caregivers can provide a protective shield in protecting children from risky behavior. Given the presence of neighborhood violence and disorganization, supports are needed for these caregivers to communicate with their children in order to shield them from the negative community influences that can make them more susceptible to negative situations.