Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Lisa Armistead, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Erin Tone, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Sarah Cook, Ph.D.

Fourth Advisor

Kelly Lewis, Ph.D.


Black South Africans account for a majority of HIV cases in South Africa, and there is thus a need for greater understanding of protective factors specific to this group. Within the HIV prevention and risk literature, little information exists regarding the familial and neuropsychological contributions to HIV prevention in youth. The current study addressed this gap. In a group of black South African parent-child dyads, we explored factors contributing to the development of pre-adolescents’ protective attitudes in the context of a family-based HIV prevention intervention, named Imbadu Ekhaya (IE), which translates to “communication in the home,” in Xhosa. As expected, the intervention increased communication practices among parents and children. However, child attitudes were not affected by the intervention through either of the two proposed mediators, parent-child communication or parent attitudes about child sexuality. Furthermore, child executive functioning did not play a role in the relationship between parent-child communication and child sexual attitudes measured 6 months post intervention. Results indicated that the intervention improved communication practices between parents and children, but the impact of such interventions on child outcomes should be explored further.