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OBJECTIVE - To investigate the effects of the home environment, socioeconomic status (SES), and health status on cognitive functioning in a sample of children with HIV-1 infection in a cross-sectional study.
METHODS - Forty-three caregivers and their children (2.5 to 12 years) participated. Caregivers completed two self-report measures of the home environment that included questions regarding the organization of the environment, play materials, parental involvement, variety of stimulation, and parental attitudes toward the provision of a cognitively stimulating environment. Cognitive functioning was assessed using a standardized intelligence (IQ) test. Children's medical charts were reviewed for HIV-1 classification status (CDC, 1994), CD4 cell counts, and current medication.
RESULTS - This study revealed two primary findings. First, measures of the home environment mediated the association between SES and child IQ. Second, measures of the home environment had a stronger association with child IQ during the advanced stages of disease than earlier stages of disease.
CONCLUSIONS - The home environment is associated with cognitive functioning among children with HIV-1 infection. Moreover, interventions aimed at enhancing the quality of the home environment may have a positive impact on these children's cognitive development.