Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Lisa P. Armistead

Second Advisor

Gabriel P. Kuperminc

Third Advisor

Nadine J. Kaslow

Fourth Advisor

Erin C. Tully


Young people in the United States, particularly African American youth, are at heightened risk for HIV infection. One proven prevention strategy is to enhance family processes through a group-based behavioral intervention. Such interventions have garnered considerable evidence for their effectiveness. Moreover, they have become increasingly culturally-informed in order to engage specific vulnerable populations and more effectively address their unique risk factors. A group overlooked by these efforts is adolescent children of mothers living with HIV (MLH). The current study therefore investigated the structured adaptation of an evidence-based HIV prevention intervention for this population. Two main phases of the study were completed. First, 15 MLH and 13 children of MLH (aged 10 to 15 years-old) were queried through focus groups and individual interviews, respectively. This formative work revealed needed modifications to intervention content, format, and delivery, and guided the selection of measures used to evaluate the intervention. For feedback on the newly adapted intervention, a community advisory board (CAB), consisting of MLH, their adolescent children, individuals working with MLH, and program staff familiar with the original evidence-based intervention (total CAB members = 11), was convened. In the second phase of the study, 12 MLH-child dyads were recruited to participate in the intervention for the purposes of examining the feasibility, defined in terms of its preliminary efficacy and acceptability. As hypothesized, the newly formed Ms. Now (Moms Stopping it Now!) intervention improved protective family processes, including parent-child relationship quality and parental monitoring. Attendance at all sessions was high, and participants had excellent engagement scores. They also rated the Ms. Now program as highly satisfactory. Clinical and prevention implications are explored, and observations are made about the process of adaptation. Finally, recommendations for a larger-scale pilot test of the intervention are offered.