Depression-mediating pathways from household adversity to antiretroviral therapy nonadherence among children and adolescents living with HIV in Zambia: A structural equation modeling approach

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Article (peer-reviewed)

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Background: In Zambia, half of children and adolescents living with HIV (CALWH) on antiretroviral therapy (ART) are virologically unsuppressed. Depressive symptoms are associated with ART nonadherence but have received insufficient attention as mediating factors in the relationship between HIV self-management and household-level adversities. We aimed to quantify theorized pathways from indicators of household adversity to ART adherence, partially mediated by depressive symptoms, among CALWH in 2 Zambian provinces. Setting: In July-September 2017, we enrolled 544 CALWH aged 5-17 years and their adult caregivers into a year-long prospective cohort study. Methods: At baseline, CALWH-caregiver dyads completed an interviewer-administered questionnaire, which included validated measures of recent (past 6 months) depressive symptomatology and self-reported past-month ART adherence (never versus sometimes or often missing medication doses). We used structural equation modeling with theta parameterization to identify statistically significant (P < 0.05) pathways from household adversities (past-month food insecurity and caregiver self-reported health) to depression (modeled latently), ART adherence, and poor physical health in the past 2 weeks. Results: Most CALWH (mean age: 11 years, 59% female) exhibited depressive symptomatology (81%). In our structural equation model, food insecurity significantly predicted elevated depressive symptomatology (ß = 0.128), which was associated inversely with daily ART adherence (ß = -0.249) and positively with poor physical health (ß = 0.359). Neither food insecurity nor poor caregiver health was directly associated with ART nonadherence or poor physical health. Conclusions: Using structural equation modeling, we found that depressive symptomatology fully mediated the relationship between food insecurity, ART nonadherence, and poor health among CALWH.






Supporting Operational AIDS Research (Project SOAR)